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Sophie de Goede leads from the front in big win for Canada

By Jon Newcombe
Canada versus the United States in a 2024 Pacific Four Series match at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday, Apr 28, 2024 in Carson, California. © 2024 Alex Ho ( aho_240428_0489_09 )

Sophie de Goede showed why she is rated as one of the leading players in the world with a brilliant display as Canada opened their World Rugby Pacific Four Series campaign with a 50-7  win against hosts USA.

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The all-action flanker scored twice in a powerful second-half performance from Canada and finished with 18 points in the match after also converting four of Canada’s eight tries.

Canada were understandably rusty at first having not played for the best part of six months, but 33 unanswered points after the break underlined their superiority and De Goede admitted they had much to reflect on before their next Test against Australia in Sydney on May 11.

Fixture
Pacific Four Series
USA Women's
7 - 50
Full-time
Canada Women's
All Stats and Data

“It was a really physical game, especially in the first half, which we always knew it would be against the US,” she said.

“We really had to weather that first half and then pick up the tempo in the second half and I am really proud of the way we did that.

“We just needed to make sure we were moving the ball faster and being more proactive.

“Ball placement was okay in the first half but we weren’t proactive enough in our positioning to put pressure on with our carries, and they were doing a really good job on getting up on our first receivers.”

Looking ahead to the crunch Allianz Park encounter against the Wallaroos, she added: “We probably need to keep building the way we left off, and we need to start games the way that we finish them, so we’ll be keen on doing that in training over the next week and a half.”

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Playing in front of their fans for the first time since they were last at the Dignity Health Sports Park in 2021, USA started brightly enough. But Canada were 10 points to the good (no pun intended) in as many minutes after their powerful driving lineout had the opposition back-pedalling.

First Claire Gallagher and then Tyson Beukeboom crossed before USA hit back when Georgie Perris-Redding, who was every bit as industrious as her opposite number de Goede, wriggled over from close range.

With Gabby Cantorna adding the conversion, USA had closed to within three points of Canada but that was their final scoring act of the match.

Beukeboom’s second-row partner, Laetitia Royer, raced home from 25 metres to extend Canada’s lead again, to 17-7, and that was the way the scoreline stayed for the remainder of the half as the second quarter passed by scoreless.

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Canada came out firing on all cylinders and Madison Grant’s try on 42 minutes was followed by a quickfire double from de Goede.

After replacement prop McKinley Hunt was held up over the line, Canada had to wait until the 70th minute before crossing the whitewash again, Gallagher finishing off an extended phase-play move when she collected a pop-up pass from impact sub Fancy Bermudez.

With Bulou Mataitoga sent to the sin-bin for a shirt pull in the build-up to that try, it promised to be a difficult final 10 minutes for the USA.

However, they never let their heads drop and parity in terms of playing numbers was restored five minutes from time when Gallagher blotted her otherwise exemplary copybook when she was yellow-carded after an accumulation of high tackles.

A lack of composure prevented the USA from converting a couple of promising moments inside the Canada 22 into points and it was the team ranked fourth in the world who rounded things off, Julia Omokhuale’s converted try taking them to 50 points against the USA for the second match in a row.

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