France wins bronze medal with 36-0 win over Canada in 2021 RWC

France Wins Bronze Medal over Rugby Canada in Auckland, New Zealand

This Saturday on the last day of the World Cup, France wins bronze medal at Eden Park. This was France’s third-straight bronze medal, and while disappointing not to appear in the Cup final, they completed a confidence-boosting win.

Rugby Canada finished in fourth place [for the fourth time] and must look closely at this result. As must each nation that competed will; including England. They might all wish to emulate the performance of a New Zealand or in this analysis, France.

France wins Bronze medal at New Zealand’s RWC rugby-party

Prior to kick-off, many had spoken of the fact Canada had defeated France in their most recent encounters. The problem for the North American side was that Les Bleuets had improved by a much greater degree. And it proved clear to see, as the match began in France’s favour.

France’s defence was Exceptional in Bronze playoff final

The defence of France’s team was the main reason why they won against Rugby Canada. It clearly showed on the scoreboard at the end of the game. There are too many instances to choose from. Here are a few plays that caught the eye:

  • In the 34-minute, Annaëlle Deshayes made a great defensive play and forced Rugby Canada to turn the ball over.
  • In the 66-minute, France Rugby defended well, as Rugby Canada was held on by France Rugby as they tried to score a try.

Canada TSN commentator Andrea Burke spoke of France’s defence in the first half: “France’s defence, no surprise, has been absolutely outstanding. They are putting two people in a tackle every single time. So perhaps, Canada just trying to keep the ball alive, try and avoid those closer tackles to the ruck and really start to stretch the defence.”

Canada did try to do that in the second half. There was one sequence where Rugby Canada tried to stretch France’s defence with some quick passes. However, France was well-prepared for it and was organized enough to stop Canada in its tracks. There was nothing Canada could do to be successful against the French on this occasion.

Rugby Canada just made too many basic mistakes

Yes, France’s defence was exceptional, but there were some errors by Canada. Some notable ones include:

  • Sophie De Goede committed a knock-on, which resulted in a kick converted by Caroline Drouin.
  • Following a lineout by Emily Tuttosi, a penalty was called on Alex Tessier, who joined the ruck incorrectly.
  • Elissa Alarie was called for a knock-on in the 46-minute.

This is what the TSN commentator, Brian Spanton, said about the game: “a few too many mistakes, few drop balls. The French set-pieces are strong. And this French scrimmage is formidable, it will be difficult for Canada.”

This game proved extremely difficult for Canada in fact. It was not their best and it is something they should look at and improve on, for future games.

Canadian women had trouble dealing with France’s offence

France was exceptional in offence against Canada. They figured out ways to get past Canada’s defence for a large part of the game. This was especially true in the first half. Also, France Rugby got close to the try zone, they troubled Rugby Canada’s defence.

  • France Rugby made a terrific run. Gabrielle Vernier made a fantastic run and passed the ball to Pauline Bourdon, who converted the try.
  • A lineout throw by Agathe Sochat was successful. Deshayes got past Canada’s defence and scored the try in the 45-minute. Drouin converted the kick in the 46-minute.
  • A terrific team play within Canada’s 22. In their last try, they were able to stretch Canada’s defence. Bourdon passed the ball to Drouin, which was passed to Maëlle Filopon. Filopon then made a very quick pass to Marine Ménager for the try in the 61-minute. Drouin converted the kick in the 62-minute.

The kicking by France also helped them win over Canada. It allowed France Rugby to get in good positions to score against Rugby Canada.

Other factors to analyze in playoff:

France’s offensive pressure had a lot to do with their terrific kicking. Two kicks that immediately led to tries include:

  • Emilie Boulard delivered a terrific kick in the 10-minute. This led to a Madoussou Fall try in the 12-minute.
  • Boulard delivered a terrific kick to put France Rugby in a great position to score in the 40-minute. This play resulted in a try for France. Bourdon made a great run and passed the ball to Caroline Drouin, who was able to convert the try.

Also when looking at the stats, the one stat that stood out was carry metres gained. Canada made 352 metres while France made 488 metres. Also, Canada only had three linebreaks to France’s seven. As a result, France wins the bronze medal, and congrats to them, as it was thoroughly deserved.

Rugby Canada’s disappointing performance as France wins bronze medal

This is what Rugby Canada’s head coach, Kevin Rouet, said about the game frankly: “We did not show up. It was not a good performance for us. Congrats to France, they played a great game. Just a no-show for us.”

Rouet did take some blame for it, saying that “I do not think I saw I didn’t see that mentally and physically.”

Last Word on Rugby agrees with everything Rouet said. This was not Canada’s finest game. However, that does not take away from what Rugby Canada accomplished. Their best game was probably the loss against England Rugby. It showed that despite being an amateur team, Canada could compete with the top three teams in the world.

As for France, there were many reasons they won, the most notable reason was their ability to defend and shut out Canada at Eden Park. Also, Bourdon played very well, as she was involved in just about everything. And as a result, got the Player of the Match in the win over Canada.


Read more: Rugby Canada 2021 RWC Profile: What are the Expectations?

The need for a professional women’s league was covered in the article after Canada lost against England. Having regular gameplay; like in that nation where they have the Allianz Premiership 15s, is the key.

MLR Commissioner, George Killebrew, said that it is a possibility, which may mean a pro women’s rugby union team in Toronto, but it does not look like it is going to happen anytime soon. This is however not just a rugby union problem, but a problem that is seen in many other sports. Soccer and basketball, for example, do not have professional women’s soccer leagues or even a pro sports team on their team.

All in all, in terms of results, Canada did not underachieve or overachieve. They are placed where a lot of pundits and journalists probably placed them, which was fourth place. They have shown they are a class above any team ‘not’ named England, France, or New Zealand. However, it is about beating those three teams that Canada now needs to focus on.

Lastly, the women’s 2025 Rugby World Cup is only three years away. They will need to get better and hopefully the governing body gives them more and better resources for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

Regardless, there was a lot of love shown to Rugby Canada in the Rugby World Cup (Source: Rugby World Cup’s Twitter Account).

Salute to 2021 World Champion Black Ferns

Also, congrats to New Zealand and the Black Ferns, who have won the Rugby World Cup for the sixth time now. It is a remarkable achievement as there have been only eight Women’s Rugby World Cup tournaments played so far. They are still the team to beat, as they defeated both France and England in the Rugby World Cup and Canada in the Pacific Four Series earlier this season.


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