Canada’s journey in the inaugural WXV tournament began on an entertaining note with a 40-22 victory over Wales, but post-match, the team seemed more focused on areas for improvement than celebrations. While the result was a positive start, coach Kevin Rouet believed that his side should have sealed the game earlier.
“I think we should have finished way before we did,” commented Rouet in a post-match media session at Sky Stadium in Wellington. “We gave them hope they could win this game and – I don’t know the word – killed the game in the first half. We scored 40 points but we should have done a better job.”
Canada’s captain, Sophie de Goede, contributed to her team’s win by scoring the opening try and flawlessly kicking six conversions. Despite the win, she acknowledged Wales’ tenacity, as they trailed Canada by just four points at halftime.
“I also give credit to Wales,” said de Goede. “They had some good moments, they were physical. I’m pretty happy with the way we matched them in defence, but discipline hurt us. Scrums were a bright moment, but lineouts weren’t. It’s always nicer to learn from a win, so we’ll take that.”
De Goede expressed frustration at the pace of the game and the need for her team to inject more tempo. She emphasized the importance of carrying momentum into the next game.
Head coach Rouet commended Wales for making Canada work hard for their six tries, which all came from close range. He recognized the Welsh team’s strong defense, especially near their goal line.
Canada’s preparations leading up to the WXV tournament included two meetings with England. De Goede pointed out the importance of starting strong and preventing the opponent from getting an early lead. She shared her aspirations for consecutive scoring and maintaining a tight defense.
As Canada gears up for another clash with England in the WXV 1, the team will move south to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. This unique venue, with its fast track and reputation for producing entertaining games, is seen as a valuable setting for the development of the Canadian squad.
De Goede acknowledged the significance of the WXV tournament for Canadian women’s rugby, both in terms of visibility and long-term growth. She’s excited about the impact it will have on women’s rugby in Canada and believes it will contribute to the sport’s growth, stating, “It’s only going to help us grow.”