Sports

Rugby: Canadian women dominant, beat U.S. 51-7

Canada’s Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, a second-half substitute, runs over the U.S. defence. - Don Bodger
Canada’s Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, a second-half substitute, runs over the U.S. defence.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Support means as much off the rugby field as on it and the Canadian women’s team has it in droves.

Incredible sponsor and staff support was matched by the Canadian players on the field working for each other Tuesday, as they massacred the United States 51-7 in an international fixture at Shawnigan Lake School.

“Shawnigan has been a huge support — financially, but everything the school does when the teams arrive,’’ said Shawnigan’s own Gary Dukelow, who sees it all firsthand and as an assistant coach of the team responsible for the forwards.

He also had high praise for technical director John Tait, who heads women’s rugby in Canada and runs the sevens program.

The dominance over the Americans was sweet for the Canadians after losing to them during the Nations Cup in Denver recently despite winning the championship of the event for the first time.

The Canadians jumped into a 22-0 halftime lead and kept it going in the second half, even with several substitutes entering the game.

Dukelow was going over game film with head coach Francois Ratier Wednesday and they could only marvel at what they witnessed.

“It’s so much less stressful when it’s a good game,’’ said Dukelow of the process. “We thought it’d be a lot tighter. We just had a game where things went our way.’’

Julianne Zussman romped for three tries, Jessica Dovanne and Magali Harvey tallied two apiece and Kayla Mack and Mandy Marchak rounded out the team’s nine-try performance. Andrea Burk and Harvey kicked converts.

Dukelow was pleased with the contributions of his forward pack.

“I like the way they approach the game,’’ he said. “They work hard. Our forwards are going to be like third row. I want everyone to be fast and technical.’’

Dukelow added Ratier is a brilliant attack coach and “it’s also about support. We have a mantra right now: Be a warrior, not a worrier.’’

The teams meet again in Langford Saturday, as preparations continue for the World Cup in France this summer.

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