England 29-12 Canada: Red Roses seal series with win over 14-player Canada

Amber Reed
Centre Amber Reed scored one of England’s five tries
England: (17) 29
Tries: Packer, Kildunne, Muir, Reed, Breach Cons: Jones 2
Canada: (5) 12
Tries: Svoboda, Perry Con: De Goede

England completed their preparations for the inaugural WXV tournament with victory over Canada, who were reduced to 14 players in the first half.

Gabrielle Senft was sent off for a high tackle in the 17th minute at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium, but England were unable to match the eight-try haul of their 50-24 win over Canada last week.

Captain Marlie Packer, Ellie Kildunne and Maud Muir scored in the first half.

Amber Reed and Jess Breach added tries after the break.

Interim head coach Louis Deacon made eight changes as England tried out some new combinations before naming their 30-player squad for the WXV competition on Sunday.

In a sometimes scrappy second half, England’s attack missed opportunities and were frustrated by Canada’s resilient defence.

There were some good signs with the new centre combination of player-of-the-match Amber Reed and Megan Jones, in her first start, putting in a strong showing.

England will face hosts New Zealand, Australia and Canada in the WXV1 tournament from 20 October to 4 November.

They will be hoping new head coach John Mitchell, who is currently working with Japan’s men at the World Cup in France, will be able to take permanent charge of the team before their opening match against Australia.

That will depend whether Japan can beat Argentina on 8 October to qualify for the quarter-finals.

England captain Marlie Packer scores
England’s Marlie Packer scored her team’s opening try

Senft sees red for dangerous tackle

With England seeking to play a more open and attacking style, they took the lead through a more traditional approach.

A driving maul from a line-out enabled skipper Packer, starting at number eight for the first time in her England career, to notch her 41st international try at her home ground.

An electric burst from Claudia MacDonald ended up with Kildunne powering over to add to the two tries she scored last Saturday.

Flanker Senft was then sent off for a dangerous tackle with her shoulder that left Hannah Botterman holding her head in pain.

Canada’s forwards rallied well and got their reward when flanker Sara Svoboda charged down Holly Aitchison’s attempted clearance to score.

But prop Muir crashed over and Jones notched her first conversion to give England a 17-5 half-time lead.

Maud Muir powers over for England
Maud Muir’s converted try gave England a 12-point cushion

England attack stutters in second half

England struggled to take full advantage of their extra player in the second half.

MacDonald should have been put clear but Breach’s pass was behind her, Kildunne kept the ball instead of passing to Breach and Packer dropped the ball when diving over the line from a rolling maul.

Finally, Reed spied a big gap in Canada’s defence and ran through to score and Jones accelerated away to send Breach over to complete England’s scoring.

But Canada were not finished. Taylor Perry held off Packer’s challenge to rumble over the line as the visitors breached England’s defence for a second time.

Having already used all their substitutes, England finished the match with 14 players after replacement scrum-half Lucy Packer went off injured.

But the world number one side will head off to New Zealand off the back of two well-deserved victories.

‘Maybe we tried too hard at times.’

England interim head coach Louis Deacon: “It was a little bit frustrating, we never really got into our rhythm. It was a very stop-start game. We turned over too much ball and maybe tried too hard at times.

“It was a day for the defence, with some really good defensive work there today, particularly on our tryline.

“It is a new game for a lot of those players and we are seeing some really good signs of it, we just need a better understanding of where we are.

“We will now have some downtime before WXV and a bit of freshness can kick in to hit the ground running for WXV.”

Player of the match Amber Reed: “Canada are always going to be physical and work hard. They always play in the right areas and put us in some difficult situations.

“We have got things to fix up still but from five weeks ago we have started to implement our plan and it is coming. For the team this week and last week to go out and perform with those changes, to play how we want to, is really exciting.”


England: Kildunne; Breach, Jones, Reed, MacDonald; Aitchison, Hunt; Botterman, Cokayne, Muir, Aldcroft, Beckett, Talling, Allen, Packer (capt).

Replacements: Powell, Carson, Bern, O’Donnell, Galligan, Packer, Bridger, Dow.

Canada: Grant; Farries, Bermudez, Perry, Scurfield; Gallagher, Pelletier; DeMerchant, Tuttosi, Menin, Beukeboom, Holtkamp, Senft, Svoboda, De Goede.

Replacements: Boag, Hunt, Ellis, Royer, Forteza, Apps, Seumanutafa, Symonds.

Red card: Senft

Referee: Amber McLachlan (Australia)


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