SARNIA, Ontario – The USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans suffered their fourth consecutive defeat to Canada’s Under-20 women’s side Saturday in the second match of the Under-20 Women’s Can-Am Series at Norm Perry Park.
It took just as long as the first match for Canada to find the first try, though the WJAAs had defended better than in their 51-5 defeat Wednesday. Hooker Coreen Riley scored the first try and added a second less than 10 minutes later for an early 12-0 lead.
A bright attack shone each time the WJAAs held possession, but the hounding Canadian defense was too suffocating, ultimately forcing turnover after turnover. Hat-trick try-scorer Emma Jada earned herself a starting role Saturday after her first-match performance earlier in the week and set up captain Deleka Menin in the 33rd minute for a try and 17-0 lead.
The WJAAs managed to hold up a try with minutes remaining in the first half but Canada scored another two tries to take a 31-0 lead into the break.
Brianna Kim slotted two penalty kicks in the second half after flowing, attacking rugby from the WJAAs brought them into the Canadian half, but tries from Jess Neilson and Caroline Crossley saw the Maple Leafs out with the 43-6 win.
Bright spots for the WJAAs included an improved defensive performance, as Danielle Miller’s team only surrendered two tries in the second frame, compared to the 41 points Canada scored in 40 minutes Wednesday.
“I was proud of the girls and was pleased with their performance,” Miller said. “They improved tremendously from the first match and even from the first half to the second, which made the Canadian side work for every try they completed.”
In her first high performance tour, 15-year-old Lilly Durbin made an impact with the WJAAs at fullback, providing try-saving tackles and composure during Canada’s attacking onslaught. Others, like Frieda Fetu’u and Bridget Amoako, used the few moments of ball-in-hand they had to impress on the attack.
“Playing in an international match is difficult and the inexperienced U.S. players now know the intensity and pace that is needed to compete at that level,” Miller said. “The young U.S.A. side now has 24 more players that have international experience, which is something that will help provide a launching pad for the U20 Nations Cup next year.”
The string of four losses to Canada stretches back to last year at the 2013 IRB U20 Women’s Nations Cup, where the border rival defeated the WJAAs, 27-3, in pool play in England before a 25-15 win in the tournament Final.
“The Canadian side was a strong team and clearly the better squad,” Miller said. “They deserve the win for the series and played very professionally. The WJAA team must increase player development before meeting Canada again next year.
“I am glad we had the challenge of playing a good squad. It is only through an arduous match that we will learn what we need to improve upon and we are grateful that the Canada U20 Women’s team was able to be that difficult opponent.”
AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | v Canada
1. Elizabeth Groff (Nalbandian @ 40')
2. Etta MyLau (Wasserman @ 50')
3. Abby Ellen Vogel
4. Katie Mueller
5. Melissa Hargadine
6. Frieda Fetuu
7. Gioanna Cruz (Decker @ 41')
8. Kyla Chipman (Field Captain) (Zeiders @ 65')
9. Brianna Kim (Vice Captain)
10. Nikki Richardson (Hingano @ 62')
11. Bridget Amoako (Ordway @ 47')
12. Gabriella Cantorna
13. McKenzie Hawkins
14. Caitlin "CJ" Whiteside
15. Lilly Durbin
AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | Reserves
16. Hope Wasserman
17. Sheila Decker
18. Azniv Nalbandian
19. Mata Hingano
20. Adrianna Zeiders
21. Ashley Rolsma
22. Ashlee Byrge
23. Danielle Ordway
Canada | Starting XV
1. Colleen Irowa
2. Coreen Riley (Tuttosi @ 40')
3. Deleka Menin (C)
4. Camille Provencal-Aubin (Ellis @ 44')
5. Dorian Khouri (Elliot @ 44')
6. Lauren Agnew (Svoboda @ 40')
7. Katie Svoboda
8. Maddy Mackenzie (Picketts @ 18')
9. Jess Neilson
10. Alex Tessier
11. Caroline Crossley
12. Fabiola Forteza
13. Breanna Nicholas
14. Emma Jada (Spice @ 44')
15. Stephanie Black (Lesco @ 40')
Canada | Reserves
16. Tiffany Picketts
17. Emily Tuttosi
18. Alexandra Ellis
19. Sasha Elliot
20. Sarah Svoboda
21. Natalie Lesco
22. Danielle Spice
AIG Women's Junior All-Americans | 6
Canada | 43
Tries: Riley (2), Menin, Tessier (2), Neilson, Crossley
Conversions: Neilson (4)