Rugby Canada earns unforgettable win in the WXV 1 competition – TechVerdant


The Rugby Canada women’s national team did something they were aiming all year to do, to beat a top three side in a competitive game. Canada was not able to do it against either New Zealand or England. However, they were able to do it against France in an unforgettable win. It was a fantastic way to end the year for the players wearing the Red and White for their country.

Rugby Canada earns unforgettable win and gets second in WXV 1 competition

Full game summary as Rugby Canada earns unforgettable win

The Canadian women’s defence was fantastic

The Canadians won this game because of their defence. This was especially true early on as France was very aggressive and put the pressure on the Canadians from the start of the game. For say, the first 30 minutes of the game, Canada was defending their lines and only gave up 10 points. Some great examples of defensive plays include:

  • Daleaka Menin forced France to turn over the ball early in the game.
  • Canada got a key defensive play in the 25-minute.

There were also other big plays made by Canada. Examples include some big turnovers in Canada’s favour being created in the scrum to take possession of the ball back. Also, the Canadians looked very organized on defence, with very few mistakes. This was probably Canada’s best defensive game all year.

Canada did really well with their set pieces

When looking at Canada’s first two tries, they were scored off set-pieces. The first one seen above came from a set-piece via a lineout. The second try was also scored via a set-piece. The first try was scored by Emily Tuttosi, while the second try via a set-piece was scored by Courtney Holtkamp, who played an instrumental role in Canada winning the game.

Even some of the defensive plays later in the game came via set-pieces. Forcing France to turn over the ball and give Canada possession of the ball late in the game.

The Canadians took advantage of the yellow card

When France got the yellow card in the 39-minute, thanks to a high tackle by Nassira Konde, France was winning that game 10-7.

From that yellow card, Canada was able to take the lead in the second half and score two more tries thanks to Scurfield and Holtkamp. The Scurfield try was a fantastic try, where Sara Svobody started the play, which then went to Paige Farries, to Sarah-Maude Lachance, and then finally to Bermudez, Bermudez would then make the final pass to Holtkamp for the try. Also, Holtkamp’s try came a minute after Nassira Konde came back on the field. The Canadians were able to open France’s defence and make some big runs, which helped them earn the win.

Other factors: Fancy Bermudez had a big game as Rugby Canada earns unforgettable win

In her debut appearance for Rugby Canada, Fancy Bermudez made an impact. She played an instrumental role in the try scored by Krissy Scurfield, made a big run that resulted in Tuttosi scoring a try via a set-piece, and scoring her own try thanks to some help from her teammate, Florence Symonds. This is what Bermudez said about the game (source: WXV 1 Rugby):

“The match is unreal. That was honestly one of the best games I’ve played with this team we’ve just worked so hard.” Bermudez said, “We’re out here we can beat a top three team like we’re good enough and like I think we want to get slapped on so like we really showed up today and like that feels so good. That feels so good.”

She was no doubt, the player of the match in the game for the Canadians as Rugby Canada earned an unforgettable win at Mount Smart Stadium. This is what Sophie de Goede said about the win in a press release by Rugby Canada after the game ended (source: Rugby Canada):

“We wanted to win [WXV], but I am really proud of the way that we got two out of three wins,” said de Goede. “It’s so incredibly important for us to have this booked into the calendar every year knowing that we are going to be playing top quality teams, getting challenged, getting tested, having to come through that, building winning habits.”

De Goede also played a big role, converting four of her five kicks, including a key penalty converted late in the game. This meant that France was put under pressure to score more than just one try late in the game.

READ MORE: Sophie de Goede: Player profile of Rugby Canada’s captain

This is what Canadian head coach, Kévin Rouet, said about the win after the game on TSN:

“I’m proud of this group, they work very hard. So I just want to congratulate them because today, if anything was not easy, the progression was not easy, they played very well today, so I’m pleased for them.”

READ MORE: 2022 Rugby Canada women’s team review: The nation made proud

Canada closed out last year with a loss to France in the bronze medal game of the 2021 Rugby World Cup. Now, they have won their last game of the year against France in the WXV 1 competition. It shows that the Canadian women have something to build on as they look to build the program and build the popularity in Canada.

France Rugby graceful in defeat and why they lost

On the reverse side, this is what French captain, Marine Ménager said, after the end of the game shown on TV on TSN:

“It was a really tough game. We knew that we had to begin with energy. And we worked hard with the loss last week, we would have always been what the scrambling the line and we weren’t pretty precise enough. And we had too many penalties.”

While this might be true, set-pieces are considered a strong point of the Canadian women. Also, France started the game with a lot of pressure on the Canadians. Pauline Bourdon Sansus was amazing and played a big part in her team having the lead after the end of the fist half.

Lastly, via translation to English from French after the game on TV, this is what French co-head coach, Gaëlle Mignot, had to say about the game as she was classy in defeat and congratulated Canada:

“I would like to congratulate, the Canadian team, they were amazing. They played very, very well. They had a very strong opposition. So we had to give up. And this is what I would like to say, congratulations. So we had to keep up. It was a great opportunity for us to play at this level.”

A classy response by Mignot, who showed great sportsmanship despite defeat, something rugby union is all about.

England won the WXV 1 competition

England won the inaugural WXV 1 competition after beating New Zealand 33-12. The Red Roses interim head coach, Louis Deacon, said this about the win against New Zealand and winning the competition (source: PA Media of The Observer in The Guardian):

“I’m massively proud, they were absolutely outstanding. They’re a new group but they’ve grown as the competition’s gone on and they were outstanding today. There’s still a long way to go, which is really exciting. We’re only at the beginning of the journey, [the new coach] John Mitchell has got a few things that he wants to put in place and we’re only going to improve from here.”

Marlie Packer, the Red Roses captain, won the Player of the Year, this is what she said about winning the award and the competition (source:

“I’m completely on a high at the moment,” said Packer. “I’m so proud of this squad, both players and staff. We spoke about this journey 11 weeks ago in Chester, and we’ve grown over the tournament,” Packer continues. “Me getting World Player of the Year is credit to the players around me. I can’t do my job without them. I’m on cloud nine and the other girls should be too.”

READ MORE: Marlie Packer: The Red Roses’ world-class captain

As for how the rest of the WXV 1 competitions ended up, Australia beat Wales by a score line of 25-19, which means that Australia ended tied in points with Canada. However, Canada finished second in the WXV 1 standings over Australia, because of a better points differential. Also, New Zealand finished fourth, France finished fifth, and Wales finished last. This was a remarkable achievement as Canada never finished second in the world in any competition since the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Also, big congrats to both Scotland, who won the WXV 2 competition, and Ireland, who won the WXV 3 competition. These competitions give meaningful games for many teams in women’s rugby union, which will eventually improve the play of the teams and the popularity of the game of rugby union in general.


Photo Credit: Dave Lintott / from Rugby Canada on November 4, 2023.


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