The Red Roses’ solid defence helped them make the RWC Final

The Red Roses' Solid Defence was a Big Reason why they Advanced to the RWC 2021 Final

AUCKLAND, NZ – The Red Roses’ solid defence helped them to advance to its sixth-straight Women’s Rugby World Cup Final. They are the only country to make every Rugby World Cup Final in the 21st century. They also denied Rugby Canada their second appearance in the Rugby World Cup Final.

Red Roses’ Solid Defence was a Major Factor in the Win over Rugby Canada

Full Game Summary

England Rugby’s Defence Really Shined in the Second Half

The biggest reason for England winning the game was their defence. To Rugby Canada’s credit, they were the more aggressive team in the second half. England had to be really sharp on that end of the field, otherwise, they would have probably lost the game. This is why the Red Roses’ solid defence in the second half was by far the biggest factor of the game.

The most clear-cut example was in the 49-minute. After Rugby Canada almost scored, England’s Claudia Macdonald ran with the ball and passed it to Abby Dow. Dow did the rest and made an impressive run to score a try. She was probably the player of the match, as she also scored a try in the 15th minute.

This is what Rugby Canada legend, Andrea Burk, said about that specific play 0f D0w’s try in the 50-minute:

“That is such smart rugby, that is what reps over reps, over reps do. The English have their Premiership rugby, their triple digits in caps for some of these players. It’s an all-in defensive effort, the turnover at the five-metre line and most teams might look to put that to a fly-half, who sitting at the pocket, look to get some depth to it, and then go back to defence.”

Rugby Canada might have been surprised that England Rugby decided to run the ball across the field. However, it shows that sometimes one’s best offence is their best defence. That was really a 12-point try, as Rugby Canada almost scored around the posts, which would have given them a probable two-point conversion as well.

In the 61-minute, Daleaka Menin stole the ball, and a series of passes led to Paige Farries getting the ball and making a great run to give Rugby Canada a chance to score a try. However, England did not panic and forced a Rugby Canada knock-on.

The Red Roses’ Solid Defence Played a Big Role in the Game


The potential avenues for professionalization will be looked at later in the article, but Rugby Canada did well for a team that is an amateur outfit. The defence of England Rugby was the key for the Red Roses. It was by far the biggest factor why England Rugby won the game. England Rugby looked very organized and defended their line very well against Canada in the second half. It was not easy as Canada had a better chance to score in the second half, but England was able to prevail in the end.

England Rugby Scored Three Penalties

Seeing that England only won by seven points, a big factor was their penalties.

  • Sara Kaljuvee’s tackle late in the first half, resulted in Emily Scarratt converting the kick.
  • Sarah Bern and Marlie Packer were tough to handle for Canada’s defence to start the second half. This resulted in a successful penalty conversion by Scarratt.
  • The third penalty came just after Canada scored a try. Scarratt converted a penalty in the 70-minute, which was the last points scored in the game.

Rugby Canada Did not Convert Two Lineouts

  • Gillian Boag’s lineout throw was not straight in the 78-minute turning over the ball to the opposition.
  • Emily Tuttosi’s lineout was successful. Unfortunately, a few phases after the lineout, Tuttosi was not able to handle the ball thanks to the great English defence.

Saying that Boag’s successful lineout in the 66-minute led to a Tyson Beukeboom try. So, it was not all bad, but those two lineouts could have changed the momentum for Canada. It may not have been as significant as the two other factors above, but it did play a part in the game.

Other Factors

After Rugby Canada won their first four matches, including the quarterfinals and the last Pool B Game against USA Rugby, they will now need to regroup. Rugby Canada though deserved a lot of credit. In particular, their speed and their relentless offence, which was seen in the second half. Beukeboom made a great run and Sophie de Goede helped Beukeboom score her try.

They also came back after giving up the first 12 points to England in the first half. The splendid kick by Justine Pelletier, which was met by the speed of Karen Paquin helped Canada get closer. They would then tie the game in the first half as Pelletier once again delivered a great pass, this time to Alysha Corrigan, who converted the try. De Goede would then make the conversion.

Unfortunately, another reason why Canada lost the game was giving up too many points to start each half. Canada gave up the first 12 points of the first half and the first eight points of the second half. England was more ruthless in attack, and they showed how good they are with their mauls as Packer scored the first try of the game.

READ MORE: Rugby Canada 2021 RWC Profile: What are the Expectations?

The Future of the Professional Women’s Rugby Union Game in Canada

There was a lot of talk after the game about how well Canada faced off against a side like England Rugby, who have a league of their own. Unfortunately, there is not much going on in terms of professional women’s rugby union teams/leagues coming to Canada. Even though the MLR Commissioner, George Killebrew, mentioned in an interview with Last Word on Rugby’s Raheem Bashir that a pro women’s league from MLR is a possibility down the road.

The next comment might get a bit of criticism from rugby union supporters, but there is a real possibility of a potential pro men’s/women’s rugby league nines version to launch with the CCCRL (Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League). It has been quiet as of late with the CCCRL, but at the same time, it takes a long time to launch two leagues at once. If that league launches one of two things could happen. One is that these players get professional contracts in the CCCRL and play for Canada. There are players on the men’s side that have played both codes like Sonny Bill Williams. It is not ideal, but it is better than nothing.

The second thing that could happen is Rugby Canada looking over their shoulder at the Canada Rugby League Association. They might be thinking they need a professional league for both men and women to keep up with the professional game of rugby league. In this case, a rugby code war could be seen as a beneficiary for both rugby codes.

Games Coming Up for Both Teams

It is important to note that even though Rugby Canada lost in the semi-finals, they still have a chance to win the bronze medal. That game will kick off live on Friday, November. 11 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand will be the venue for the game between the two teams. Fans can watch that game live nationally on TV on TSN.

This is while England will play at 1:30 AM ET on November 12 against New Zealand. New Zealand is coming off a nail-biting 25-24 win over France to advance to the Final. The venue will also be Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. That game is also likely to be shown on TSN. It will also be shown live on ITV in England on November 12 at 6:30 AM GMT.

Win or lose, Rugby Canada has done well against teams that have their own domestic pro competitions. France will not be easy, but if Canada can pull it off, it would be their second-best achievement in the history of the Rugby Women’s World Cup. It is a game for any Canadian sports fan to look forward to and watch.


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