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Pacific Four Series 2024 Form XV

By Adam Julian
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 19: Sophie de Goede of Canada lifts the winners trophy with her team after winning the 2024 Pacific Four Series following winning their match between New Zealand Black Ferns and Canada at Apollo Projects Stadium on May 19, 2024 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Canada stunned the world when they won the Pacific Four Series in New Zealand defeating Rugby World Champions the Black Ferns for the first time.

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With wins against the USA and Australia too, Canada achieved overall honours undefeated. USA made giant strides in their win against Australia and the Black Ferns were ruthless at times, muddled at others.

15. Mererangi Paul (Black Ferns) – Hat-tricks against the USA and Australia is a tribute to the attacking flair of Paul who started the series at fullback and moved to the right wing against the Wallaroos. Developing a defensive kicking game is a priority but the recent netball convert is making big strides.

14. Fancy Bermudez (Canada) – Her two tries against the Black Ferns will become iconic and were quality finishers for the 21-year-old who also scored in the 29-20 win against France in WXV 1 last year. Bermudez is a regular in the SVNS for Canada and has transitioned seamlessly to fifteens.

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13. Sylvia Brunt (Black Ferns) – It wasn’t a vintage series for any of the centres on display, so Sylvia Brunt is shifted to a place she’s appeared before. It’s scarcely believable that Brunt is only 20 years old. She is one of the Black Ferns’ most damaging attackers and in this series ranked in the top five for metres gained (234), defenders beaten (20) and clean breaks (six). The Canadians did a wonderful job shutting down Brunt in Christchurch.

12. Alex Tessier (Canada) – It was a milestone series for the veteran who brought up her 50th Test in the win against Australia. Against the Black Ferns, she enjoyed one of her best displays with incisive running and 11 tackles in a masterclass on shutting down dangerous opposites.

11. Katelyn Vahaakolo (Black Ferns) – Scored a try in every game, with two 80m efforts, and ran for 390 metres in three internationals overall. A lighting rod in space, unafraid to look for work. World Class.

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10. Claire Gallagher (Canada) – Not a headline writer but her poise, defence and tactical nous were outstanding for Canada. Gallagher’s kicking game against the Black Ferns helped Canada achieve 56% of territory despite making 147 more tackles, of which Gallagher contributed 14.

She had the same number of tackles against the USA where she was targeted. Remember Gallagher was a midfielder in the WXV 1 last year. Her switch to ten was an undoubted success in not overplaying her hand. An honourable mention for Arabella McKenzie who scored two cracking tries for Australia against the Black Ferns and had some good moments.

9. Olivia Apps (Canada) – A clever player with vast experience in the SVNS she was tactically astute in the upset of the Black Ferns, withstanding her yellow card in the last ten minutes. Clears the ball quickly, a whippet off the mark and brave.

8. Kaipo Olsen-Baker (Black Ferns) – Missed the Rugby World Cup in 2022 injured and has stiff competition locally. Olsen-Baker very much put herself back into the national frame with powerhouse performances. She added impact which almost won the game against Canada, helped the Black Ferns regain impetus after they lost it momentarily against the USA, and destroyed Australia in the final outing. Olsen-Baker gained the most metres of any Black Ferns forward with 182 from the most carries 39. She beat 16 defenders, delivered four offloads, and made 22 tackles. Kennedy Simon and Liana Mikaele Tu’u are becoming increasingly indispensable in the Black Ferns back row.

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7. Sophie de Goede (Canada) – The best female player in the world? Inspirational. A haul of 18 points in the 50-7 win against the USA was followed by a commanding display against Australia. In the historic win against the Black Ferns, De Goede made 27 tackles and had a hand in two tries. She topped Canada’s carries and tackling counts.

6. Freda Tafuna (USA) – A busy and uncompromising display against the Black Ferns saw her carry 19 times and score a try. She was equally effective against Australia in the historic 32-25 win.  In 2023 Tafuna won the MA Sorensen Award as one of the best collegiate players in America, the same year she made her international debut.

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5. Tyson Beukeboom (Canada) – In the win against the Black Ferns, Beukeboom passed the Canadian record for most caps with 68. She had a blinder in Christchurch making 17 tackles and orchestrating much of the lineout which was such a destructive weapon for Canada.  Beukeboom has been doing much the same thing since her debut in 2013.

4. Hallie Taufoou (USA) – Really delivered in the unexpected victory against Australia. The USA won 14 lineouts and Taufoou made a team-high 17 tackles accompanied by huge carries. She was as industrious against the Black Ferns with 14 tackles and Canada 11. Gave her all even despite the USA conceding 107 points in the first two matches.

3. DaLeaka Menin (Canada) – Officially named player of the match against the Black Ferns, Menin anchored the scrum and contributed 15 tackles. Menin carries strongly and her sturdiness in the scrums, cleanouts, and lineout lifting made her a vital cog.

2. Sara Cline (Canada) – Canada builds much of its game around the lineout where their drive can be imperious, and creates slick moves for backs that lack the individual brilliance of the Black Ferns. Canada won 19 lineouts to nine in their triumph over New Zealand and Cline contributed 15 tackles too. In the 33-14 win against Australia, she scored two tries. Cline kept the equally productive Emily Tuttosi out of the starting XV.

1. McKinley Hunt (Canada) – Scored a try in the Black Ferns win to go with 16 tackles. She was busy against Australia with 10 tackles and blunted the Wallaroos scrum where they were better than adequate. An honourable mention for American veteran Hope Rogers who made a ridiculous 27 and 11 tackles in the Eagles’ 32-25 win over Australia. She also took it to the Black Ferns with 21 carries. The USA scrum held at times, but wasn’t always reliable.

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Comments

5 Comments
r
ryan 24 days ago

Congratulations to Canada, quite the achievement. Results like these are great for the sport, & indeed grass roots rugby in Canada for both female & male.

B
Brian 25 days ago

Interestingly, only one Black Fern in the forwards and that at No 8. Sums up I think their main weakness and why they are struggling against England, France and Canada. Nothing to do with the referees as they seem to think. When you are under pressure from the opposing pack you tend to give away penalties.

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