Rugby Canada hosts top-10 women’s rugby nation Italy at Starlight Stadium

Rugby Canada player practicing at Starlight Stadium on July 20, 2022
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Starlight Stadium will be host to the first of two Rugby Canada (women’s) test matches over the next two months. Devised as warm-up games prior to the Rugby World Cup, which is scheduled to begin in October.

It is the first time Rugby Canada has played a test since they participated in the Pacific Four Series in New Zealand. This is while sixth-ranked Italy had two wins and three losses in their Women’s Six Nations Championship at the beginning of 2022. So this upcoming fixture is a great preview of the objectives of each nation over the upcoming months.

Starlight Stadium to host Canada v Italy

Rugby Canada recent form a good measure ahead of Italy test

Rugby Canada finished second in the Pacific Four Series with two wins and a loss to host and eventual Pacific Four Series champions, New Zealand. It was a valuable experience for the Canadians, who got to experience playing against formidable opposition before the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup begins. This is what Rugby Canada captain Sophie De Goede said about the game:

“This Pac Four Tournament is huge for us. Not only playing New Zealand, but also playing quality sides that we do not play very often, so opportunities to do some combos, but also to play some games.”

Rugby Canada finished second in the Pacific Four Series with two wins and one loss, with a bonus point earned against USA Rugby. Canada is currently ranked fourth in the world. They have shown an ability to dominate and pressure teams that are ranked below them, just like the win against Australia. Rugby Canada’s best finish in a Women’s Rugby World Cup was in 2014, where they made it to the Final before losing to eventual champions, England. Additionally, Canada finished fifth in the last Rugby World Cup in 2017. This will be Rugby Canada’s ninth Rugby World Cup appearance.

Italy Rugby will provide stern test for Canadian women

Italy Rugby is ranked sixth in the world. They faced some tough teams in the Women’s Six Nations Championship. This includes teams like England and France. Italy did not do great in the Six Nations, finishing with two wins and three losses. However, in that competition, they won their last two games of the competition, providing confidence for the club heading into Sunday, July 24 according to the Guinness Six Nations. This is what Colin Gregor said about the game according to Ross Duncan:

“Yeah, they just started the second half really, really well. Got on the front foot, the wet conditions almost played in the Italian’s hands. They were less expansive with an attacking game, stuck it up with the jumper a bit more, got more of a ruling maul more.” said former Scotland player, Colin Gregor. “They come to the right and they just dive back blindsided.”

It was an impressive win at home. Italy came from behind to win the game 20-13 after losing 10-0 by the end of the first half. Rugby Canada will look at how Italy scored their tries with relentless pressure and was able to convert tries. Italy is will be a true test for the Canadian team, as they are looking to make a mark ahead of the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Their best position was in the last Rugby World Cup, where they finished ninth. This will be Italy’s fifth Rugby World Cup appearance.

Game Summary of the Canada v Italy test at Starlight Stadium

These teams have traditionally not faced each other in women’s rugby union. The last time these two teams met was in 1991, when Canada was the victor of that game 6-0 in the inaugural 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Looking at the ranking points, Canada is ranked fourth in the world, while Italy is ranked sixth.

The pressure will be on Rugby Canada, as they are the favourites to win the game, especially when they are playing at home. Italy will look to play spoilers though, as they look to get a result on the road in Langford, British Columbia.

The game will be televised live nationally in Canada on TSN. It is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET. For those who live locally in Langford, British Columbia, the game will kick off at 3:00 p.m.

 

“Photo Credit: Rugby Canada Twitter page