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Wallaroos suffer third straight defeat to finish winless in Pacific Four Series

By AAP
Sara Kaljuvee. (Photo by Fiona Goodall - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

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An undisciplined Wallaroos side squandered a double-digit lead to lose 22-10 to Canada and finish winless in the Pacific Four Series.

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Australia finished the four-nation round-robin tournament with one point at the bottom of the table.

Two Canada tries in six minutes either side of halftime on Saturday turned the game around in wet conditions in Whangarei, New Zealand.

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Reacting to the first All Blacks squad of the season.
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Reacting to the first All Blacks squad of the season.

A third try three minutes from fulltime gave the scoreboard a more realistic look as world No.4 ranked Canada dominated possession and territory.

They had twice as many carries and eighth-ranked Australia had to make 100 more tackles and gave away 10 more penalties.

Australia were down a player for the last eight minutes when reserve prop Madison Schuck was sin-binned, as referee Lauren Jenner finally lost patience after warning them for committing numerous infringements.

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“We obviously came out very strong and in that second half we gave away too many penalties and Canada is a quality team and they made us pay,” Wallaroos captain and flanker Shannon Parry told Stan Sport.

For the second time in the series, Australia couldn’t hold on after leading 10-0 and conceded more than 20 straight points.

The Wallaroos executed well from a lineout with hooker Ashley Marsters crashing over in the fourth minute from a rolling maul.

Winger Lori Cramer converted and added a penalty to give Australia a 10-0 lead inside 13 minutes.

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However, they spent most of the rest of the half on the back foot and only dogged defence and some Canadian handling errors preserved the lead.

Cramer held up Canada prop DaLeaka Menin over the line, but the gold defensive wall was finally breached just before the break, when Canada hooker Emily Tuttosi scored in identical fashion to Marsters.

Captain and No.8 Sophie de Goede converted to ensure Australia held just a three-point lead at halftime.

Canada halfback Justine Pelletier scampered over the line early in the second half after de Goede detached from the back of a scrum.

De Goede missed the conversion from in front, but Canada took control and Australia rarely threatened to score.

Australia withstood a 23-phase passage, but Canada were subsequently awarded a close-range penalty which De Goede converted in the 64th minute and reserve forward Alex Ellis scored their third try just before the end.

“Massive credit to Australia, especially in this rain that was super physical and they came out swinging,” player of the match de Goede said.

In the second half Australia struggled to maintain possession, fumbling on a number of occasions, as Canada continued to dominate.

Back-rower Grace Kemp, who made her debut off the bench, provided a rare second-half highlight for the Australians with one barnstorming run.

“I think there’s a lot to take away for a young group, we’ve really come together over this tour, even though we haven’t got the results,” Parry said.

“We’ve learnt a lot about ourselves, I think it will put us in good stead come World Cup towards the end of the year.”

– Adrian Warren

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