A North American record crowd of 10,092 saw the Black Ferns claim their 14th straight win, and confirm their place in WXV1
New Zealand 52 Canada 21
The scoreline perhaps flattered New Zealand in the end, in a game in which they were pushed hard by a spirited home side.
New Zealand struck early, taking a 7-0 lead in the third minute through hooker Luka Connor, part of an entirely changed front-row from the last Test against Australia.
Co-captain Ruahei Demant raced over next and it was 14-0 after 14 minutes and the signs were ominous for the home team.
Then wing Mererangi Paul scored the first of her double after a neat chip by Syliva Brunt which fell for Amy du Plessis in support.
But the Canadians won some momemtum back by winning two penalties in a row and turning the ball over in the ruck, spending the last 20 minutes of the first half in New Zealand’s side of the pitch.
Captain Sophie de Goede was the first to score for the home side, making use of a quick tap to power over the line. She added the kick to bring the score to 21-7.
“I just wanted to get some points on the board,” said de Goede. “Tempo was something we wanted to try and inject into the game and so I thought regardless of whether I ended up getting over or not, at least we could keep them on their toes.”
Canada’s second try of the game came from Fabiola Forteza. Tyson Beukeboom broke off a maul to offload the ball to Forteza around the five-metre mark. Another conversion from de Goede put the score at 21-14 heading into half-time.
The second half opened with another New Zealand try and conversion, but Canada put on the pressure, after several phases along New Zealand’s try line, Olivia DeMerchant scored and a third conversion from de Goede helped close the gap 28-21.
But the Black Ferns cranked it up a gear, notching four more tries to pull clear, scoring some great tries including from fullback Renée Holmes, who notched 17 points, overall.
Black Ferns 52 (Mererangi Paul 2, Amy du Plessis 2, Luka Connor, Ruahei Demant, Renée Holmes, Kelsey Teneti tries; Holmes 6 con)
Canada 21 (Sophie de Goede, Fabiola Forteza, Olivia DeMerchant tries; de Goede 3 con) HT: 21-14 Black Ferns