International XVs round-up

There were four games involving teams warming up for WXV today (Saturday)

Published by John Birch, September 23rd, 2023

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International XVs round-up

Black Ferns XV 38 Samoa 12

In relentless rain the Black Ferns XV subdued a spirited Manusina XV 38-12 at Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe.

Manusina XV genuinely troubled the hosts at scrum time, dished out some brutal defense, and scored two quality tries before waning in the last quarter.

Manusina XV captain and first-five Cassie Siataga was gracious in defeat: “Our power was in the forwards, a few mistakes we need to clean up, work in progress," Siataga said.

Auckland Storm wing Angelica Mekemeke Vahai was the leading try scorer in the Farah Palmer Cup. Her nose for the line was evident from the outset. She collected a cross kick and scampered 40 metres after a dozen minutes and then poached an intercept and dashed 90 metres moments later as Manusina XV threatened to unlock the defense.

The greasy surface made handling difficult and that played into the hands of the visitors. Counties Manukau Heat prop Glory Aiono was destructive and when Siataga kicked a 50/22, veteran Manusina XV winger Lindia Fiafia went over for their first try.

Following an Aiono yellow card, the Black Ferns XV showed they could match the brawn of Manusina with prop Moomooga Palu bowling through tackles like a trash rack clearing debris. It was 19-7 at halftime.

A quick tap by Di Hini was the catalyst for a Grace Brooker try. The Black Ferns XV were unlikely to be passed at 26-7 but Fiafia proved almost impossible to stop one-on-one, Openside Sui Pauarisa carried on the inspirational form she showed for Tasman.

Black Ferns XV locks Maama Vaipulu and Laura Bayfield were tireless throughout the game. Cantabrian Bayfield was rewarded with a try after an offload by Wellington’s Justine McGregor, the youngest player in the game aged 17.

“Manusina was physical as. You can’t take them lightly. They came out of nowhere,” Brooker said afterward.

“This was so epic. By Thursday everybody was thinking just go out there and play. The culture has been amazing. It’s like a brand new family.”

Black Ferns XV: 38 (Angelica Mekemeke Vahai 2, Moomooga Palu, Grace Brooker, Laura Bayfield, Esther Faiaoga-Tilo tries; Maia Joseph 3 con, Cheyenne Cunningham con) Manusina XV: 12 (Lindia Fiafia 2, Cassie Siataga con) HT: 19-7

England 50 Canada 24

Helena Rowland contributed 20 points at Sandy Park as England cruised to a 50-24 victory in the first match of their two-Test series with Canada..

Rowland and Ellie Kildunne score a brace of tries, with Mackenzie Carson, Maisy Allen and Marlie and Lucy Packer also crossing the line.

Justine Pelletier, Tyson Beukeboom, Emily Tuttosi and Maddy Grant scored tries for Canada.

Interim head coach Louis Deacon was in charge, before former New Zealand coach John Mitchell takes over at the end of the ongoing men's Rugby World Cup, England were quickly on the scoreboard.

Holly Aitchison's cross-field kick was caught by Kildunne, who swiftly moved it on to Abby Dow to feed Rowland back inside for a simple run-in.

Captain Marlie Packer added a second but Canada hit back with a reminder of their threat as scrum-half Pelletier threw a dummy at the ruck to snipe over.

Former Canada prop Carson then showed nimble footwork to score a third try for the world's number one-ranked side before Canada pegged back their hosts once again through a powerful surge by Beukeboom.

Kildunne's first try came after some excellent hands and lines of running by the England backs as the full-back straightened up before dotting down, before scrum-half Lucy Packer showed she could match anything her opposite number did with an equally artful finish.

Kildunne added her second after the break with another powerful run to shrug off two defenders but Canada responded through a rolling maul similar to which which Exeter's Tuttosi will have done many times on the same pitch for her club.

Canada showed plenty of attacking endeavour and were rewarded with an excellent team try as the ball was moved along the entire backline before the final pass back inside set Grant free to score their fourth try.

The loudest cheer of the afternoon followed the introduction of local hero Allen for her first cap, and the noise went up a level when the Exeter player marked her debut with a try.

England will conclude their summer series with Canada at Saracens' StoneX Stadium in London next weekend before their WXV 1 campaign gets under way in New Zealand in late October.


England: Kildunne; Breach, Rowland, Heard, Dow; Aitchison, L Packer; Carson, Atkin-Davies, Bern, Galligan, O'Donnell, Talling, M Packer (capt), Aldcroft.Replacements: Powell, Botterman, Muir, Beckett, Allen, Hunt, Jones, MacDonald.

Canada: Tessier; Farries, Bermudez, Grant, Symonds; Gallagher, Pelletier; Hunt, Tuttosi, Menin, Beukeboom, Holtkamp, Senft, Forteza, De Goede.

South Africa 26 Barbarians 38

In a riveting display of determination and resilience, the Springbok Women left an indelible mark on the rugby pitch, battling to the very end against the formidable Barbarians, going down by 38-26 (half-time 28-14) on a blustery day in Cape Town.

The result may not have swung in their favour, but the Springbok Women showcased unwavering resolve throughout the contest.

From the opening whistle, the Barbarians came charging like a storm, netting two tries in the first 10 minutes of the match. It was a daunting prospect, especially considering the Springbok Women's previous encounter with the Barbarians, which had ended in a 60-5 defeat in London two years ago.

However, this time, the South Africans remained undaunted and fought back with unyielding determination.

Their resurgence was marked by set-piece brilliance, which saw them level the score at 14-14 during the first half. Catha Jacobs ignited their comeback, securing the first try from a scrum as the No 8 gathered the ball at the back and surged over the try line.

The second try emanated from a precisely executed lineout, with Micke Gunter (hooker) claiming the five points after a formidable driving maul.

Despite the Barbarians' valiant efforts, they found themselves once again up against the resilient Springbok Women, who narrowed the gap with another impressive set-piece try from Gunter early in the second half.

At the 60-minute mark, the Barbarians staged a comeback, scoring a well-orchestrated set-piece try of their own from a lineout, with flanker Vicky Fleetwood crossing the line to make it 33-21.

The Bok Women's rhythm faced a setback when their playmaker, Libbie Janse van Rensburg, received a yellow card during a tense second half. The Barbarians capitalized on this temporary advantage, crafting a beautifully executed try through a grubber kick from Elinor Snowsill, setting up Elizabeth Goulden to score in the corner.

However, even as the odds seemed stacked against them, the Springbok Women's defence held firm, and their spirit remained unbreakable until the final whistle. Sinazo Mcatshulwa, a true powerhouse, put the finishing touches on the scoreboard, bulldozing her way over the line to bring the score to 38-26, mere moments before the end.

In the closing moments of the match, the Barbarians retained possession from the restart, but the Springbok Women's tenacious defence proved unyielding, as a final tackle near the touchline brought the game to a close, with the Barbarians victorious at 38-26.


Springbok Women 26 (14) – Tries: Catha Jacobs, Micke Gunter (2), Sinazo Mcatshulwa. Conversions: Libbie Janse Van Rensburg (3).

Barbarians 38 (28) – Tries: Christiana Balogun, Ailsa Hughes (2), Maria Magatti, Vicky Fleetwood, Elizabeth Goulden. Conversions: Elinor Snowsill (4).

Kenya 17 San Clemente Rhinos 22

Kenya took on San Clemente Rhinos just before the South Africa/Barbarians fixture. After being well beaten by South Africa a week before they were determined to put in a better performance and, against a team that had only lost 22-17 to the Boks midweek, did exactly that, only losing from aa try scored from the final play of the game.