PREVIEW – The Rugby Canada 2021 RWC team has a lot of optimism. The hope for them is to make a deep run into the Rugby World Cup. Yes, there are teams like New Zealand, France, and England who are seen as the favourites to win the tournament. However, the team that finished second in the 2014 Rugby World Cup, that is Canada, should not be underestimated.
Rugby Canada 2021 RWC Profile: Group C
When the draw was done, Canada was ranked third in the world. As a result, they got a group, where they are the favourites to come out in first place. However, it is important to point out that anything can happen in rugby union.
True rugby conditions out there as we drop the first match. Much more to play from New Zealand though. pic.twitter.com/qAjGVffjq4
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) June 6, 2022
Their fiercest rivals, USA Rugby, might be Rugby Canada’s biggest test in the Group. They are the second-highest ranked team in the world in sixth place. Both teams faced each other in the Pacific Four Series, with Canada coming out on top. The US recently revealed their roster, with a lot of players playing in England as well as in the U.S. according to Sarah Mockford of Rugby World. Two notable players from the team are Hope Rogers and Kate Zackary.
Rogers will play in her third Rugby World Cup while Zachary is the captain of the USA Rugby team. This is what USA Rugby head coach, Robert Cain said about the roster according to Mockford’s article:
“We’ve got a really exciting group, and the pleasing thing is to really see some of the less experienced players drive what we’re doing alongside the experienced players,” Cain said. “It’s been great to see players get more caps these last 12 months, adding eight or nine games to allow for combinations to be created and take advantage of our opportunity windows. Now we have an opportunity to cement it.”
The head-to-head between these two teams has been pretty even. Canada won 21 times while the U.S. won 19 times. However, in the Rugby World Cup, Canada has never defeated the U.S. They lost to the U.S. in the 1998 semi-finals stage. They also lost in the fifth-place matchup to the U.S. in the 2010 Rugby World Cup. USA’s best performance was winning the inaugural 1991 Rugby Women’s World Cup.
Italy’s roster was also revealed as Elisa Giordano will captain the Italians. Rugby Canada fans may remember Giordano, who scored Italy’s third try against Rugby Canada at Starlight Stadium. She also assisted in Italy’s first try, which was scored by Vitoria Ostuni Minuzzi.
Also, according to Rugby World, Manuela Furlan was named among the 32 members of the team. This is good news for Italy as Furlan suffered a knee injury in a warm-up game against France.
Rugby Canada and Italia Rugby only met each other once in the Rugby World Cup. This was in the inaugural 1991 Rugby World Cup, where Canada won in the plate semi-finals stage against Italy 6-0. Their best performance was finishing ninth in the 2017 Rugby World Cup. Italy is actually the second-highest ranked team in the group, behind Rugby Canada. They are ranked fifth in the world, recently passing USA Rugby, which is ranked sixth in the world.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) September 9, 2022
Italy is a team Rugby Canada should be wary of. They did lose 21-0 when both teams met in France. However, the Italians won their home leg against France in Biella by a score of 26-19.
Japan is a team that only won one pool game in its history. They, however, look to change that with some recent impressive performances. The Sakura’s qualified as the highest-ranked Asian team. They are ranked thirteenth in the world, which makes them on paper the worst-ranked team. This though should not fool the other three teams on how good Japan can be.
— 日本ラグビーフットボール協会 (@JRFUMedia) August 27, 2022
In May, they were able to beat Australia, nicknamed the Wallaroos. They also recently defeated Ireland back in August by a score line of 29-10. Both these teams are ranked in the top 10. They are more than capable of pulling a surprise against the other three teams in this group.
Japan lost to Rugby Canada in the Shield semi-finals stage of the 1994 Rugby Women’s World Cup. Their best performance was finishing eighth in the 1994 Rugby Women’s World Cup. This will be Japan’s second-straight and fifth overall World Cup appearance. They are currently ranked 13 in the world.
Ranked third in the world, Rugby Canada is the favourite in the group. They also enter this Rugby World Cup in impressive form. They have won five of their last six games. This includes wins against top sides like the U.S., Australia, and Italy. Two of those teams are in Canada’s group.
Sophie De Goede is the captain of the Rugby Canada team. She won Player of the Game against both Australia and the U.S. She also played a critical role in their friendlies afterwards. Other notable players include Emily Tuttosi and Justine Pelletier. Tuttosi is known as a hard-nosed player, who does well in scrums with her strength.
— Rugby Canada (@RugbyCanada) June 20, 2022
Pelletier is also another player to watch out for as she scored this wonderful try against Australia in the Pacific Four Series. There is also Paige Farries, who scored two tries against Italy.
There is a reason why Rugby Canada is ranked third in the world. However, this is not an easy group. In particular, the rise of Italia Rugby has made this group much harder than initially anticipated when the draw happened.
Rugby Canada 2021 RWC Profile: What are the expectations?
This is not the only Rugby World Cup Canadians can look forward to. There is also the 2021 Rugby League World Cup coming up in November. First, Rugby Canada will be considered the favourite in this group. It will not be easy, but they have shown an ability to always step up. The minimum expectation fans might have for Rugby Canada is to make the semi-finals. If they do make the semi-finals, they can try and medal in the Rugby World Cup. They have only medalled once in the World Cup, which was back in 2014.
We’re proud to announce our Senior Women’s 15s roster for the #RWC2021. 🏉🌎🏆
Congrats to the 32 players who will represent Canada in New Zealand this October and November 👏
— Rugby Canada (@RugbyCanada) August 31, 2022
Achieving this goal will be hard on paper. New Zealand, England, and France are the favourites, but upsets do happen. Also, Rugby Canada is currently ranked higher than France, which might go in their favour. Either way, expect an exciting Rugby World Cup, which has been long overdue.
Fans can watch their Canadians play in the 2021 RWC this month live on TSN. It all starts on October 9 against the Japanese. They will then play against the two teams that will be tougher on paper. First is the Italians on October 16 before closing their group stage games against the Americans on October 23.