Canada were crowned the U20s Nations Cup champions after victory over rivals USA in the final. Hosts England finished third with a win over South Africa.
Canada 27 USA 3
Canada dominated the Nations Cup this year, with four wins from four games confirming them as the leaders of this age group at the moment.
"It's a pretty important day in women's rugby in Canada," said head coach Sandro Fiorino. "These girls worked pretty hard and proved their point to the rest of the three teams here and the rest of the world. It's pretty impressive of what we have in our country right now."
Canada got the early start they wanted, using the foot of Jess Neilson to put them ahead by three early in the game.
Following a United States penalty from Anne Peterson, Canada scored the first try of the game thanks to Emily Belchos. Neilson continued her strong play throughout the tournament adding a conversion to give Canada the 10-3 lead heading into the break.
Canada came out strong in the second half with two tries from Frederique Rajotte and strong tackling from DaLeaka Menin and Cindy Nelles to gain the upper hand in the later stages of the game to prevent a comeback by the Americans.
USA head coach Danielle Miller said “All the coaches feel for the girls because we know how much it meant to them today. They’ve become a very close unit and shown what determined and talented athletes they are. USA Rugby’s future is in good shape.”
England 27 South Africa 3
Tries from Chelsey Fuggle, Ellie Gattlin, Charlie Notman, Lucy Wood and Rochelle Smith secured the win for England in the third and fourth placed play off.
England applied early pressure on the South African back line, securing a penalty that lead to Chelsey Fuggle going over from the back of a rolling maul.
This was followed shortly after with another England try, this time from lock Ellie Gattlin, who was able to drive over the line from a line out. The first half performance was strong from England as they dominated proceedings, but scoring was difficult in wet and breezy conditions. This didn’t stop South Africa’s fullback Kirsten Conrad from slotting a difficult penalty from 40 meters out to bring them back into the match at 10-3.
But England hit back quickly with another try when Charlie Notman collected from Bianca Blackburn before touching down out wide before Lucie Wood and Rochelle Smith crashed over.
Head Coach Amanda Bennett said: “I’m delighted to get the win and I’m extremely pleased for the players – they deserve it. We have worked very hard and have improved over the course of the two weeks in every aspect of our game and it was great to pull it all together and perform in the way that we did.
“We went ahead early and put ourselves into a strong position and we kicked on in the second half which was impressive. We played South Africa in the opening game of the tournament and lost but since then we have pulled together, our game understanding has improved and to get this win is a testament to the hard work put in by everyone involved."
Photo Credit: Lissy Tomlinson