Canada U20's 24-7 win over the United States has set up a winner-takes-all finale with England to decide the winner of this year's Tri-Nations.
Photo: USA Rugby/Neil Kennedy
Two tries in each half allowed Canada to record a strong win over the United States in Loughborough today.
On one of the hottest days of the English summer, Brogan Mior scored from Canada's first foray into the USA end after just two minutes, an impressive team move leading to a try in the corner.
Canada looked the more organised of the two teams from early on. Solid defence allied to a powerful pack and fast runners meant that they were on top for most of the early exchanges. The first 20 minutes saw the USA under constant pressure, with only some over-excited handling errors preventing further scores. However eventtually a second score came, Angie Olukunmi completing another impressive period of play with the second try midway through the half (converted by Shoshanah Seumanutafa).
A water break (and tactical talking to) seemed to revive the Americans, however, and from the restart they quickly found themselves down on the Canadian 5m line. Only a forward pass prevented a score for scrumhalf Mary Jane Pasioles, and just after the half-hour a great darting run from Erica Jarrell appeared to have set up a try for Sophia Haley, only for the referee to rule it out.
But the Americans were now playing with much more confidence, and minutes later Allison Koenig broke through the Canadian line, supported by Morgan Freeman who took the ball on before passing back to Koenig to touchdown under the posts. Darina Roe added the extras and the USA were back in the game at 12-7, which remained the score at the break.
As the second half began Canada were again on top with a number of scoring chances in the first 15 minutesm again with just handling letting them down a key moments, but after 58 minutes it all came together with some impressive team work and quick passing putting Lizzie Gibson in for the third try, again converted. Canada lead 19-7.
Canada were forced back in their own line shortly afterwards, but some impressive defence through multiple phases kept the USA at bay. The drinks break seemed to work to Canada's advatage this time, and just after the hour Noemie Tremblay found herself with a huge overlap to record her team's fourth try. 24-7.
The USA continued to battle to the end, but the Canadian defence held out and with no further score ran out winners by 24-7.
After the game Canadian coach Jack Hanratty said that he was "pretty pleased with the win". However "there is a lot we need to improve on and we have to be up for thar challenge".
Canada will now play England on Sunday. After England's 62-0 win over the same opposition last weekend, the game will decide the winner of this year's tournament.
Canada U20: 1 Idia Ihensekhien 2 Claudia Fulton 3 Hanna Nicholl 4 Rayann D'aguiar 5 Keegan Brantner 6 Lyric Atchison 7 Lizzie Gibson 8 Emma Feldinger 9 Berlyn Seselja 10 Alayna Scramstad 11 Angie Olukunmi 12 Shoshanah Seumanutafa 13 Sarah-Maude Lachance 14 Kally King 15 Brogan Mior
16 Holly Phillips 20 Noemie Tremblay 17 Maya Montiel 21 Justine Blatt-Janmaat 18 Rori Wood 22 Jasmine Baxter 19 Callie Harder 23 Maya Addai
United States U20: 1. Tiara A'au (Central Washington University); 2. Saher Hamdan (Notre Dame College); 3. Tori Jones (University of Notre Dame); 4. Marin Pennell (Dartmouth College); 5. Erica Jarrell (Harvard University); 6. Sophia Haley (Dartmouth College); 7. Elizabeth Wilson (Northern Virginia Rugby); 8. Kapoina Bailey (Kona High School); 9. Mary Jane Pasioles (Central Washington University); 10. Darina Roe (Pennsylvania State University); 11. Clara Lemal-Brown (Quinnipiac University); 12. Morgan Freeman (Lindenwood University); 13. Karissa Postula (Oregon Rugby Sports Union (ORSU)); 14. Megan Bird (Davenport University); 15. Allison Koenig (Quinnipiac University)
16. Tiana A'au (Central Washington University); 17. Joannah Skucek (Lindenwood University); 18. Samantha Tancredi (Lindenwood University); 19. Natalie Gray (Lindenwood University); 20. Paige Fallon (Life University); 21. Glory Woolley (Oklahoma State); 22. Matalasi Morrissette (Brigham Young University); 23. Ubaida Ahmed (Mount St. Mary's University);