Bermudez on Canada beating the Black Ferns

Before Canada plays the Black Ferns in Christchurch on Sunday, coach Kevin Rowett gave his team a test that gauges how prepared they are for unexpected events in the match.

When the vast majority of players scored high or even offered alternative theories of the potential chaos, Canada were confident they could upset the world champions even though they had never beaten New Zealand in 17 previous meetings.

Fancy Bermudez was a central figure in Canada's historic 22-19 upset. The 21-year-old winger scored two tries in her 10th international cap as Canada sealed their Pacific Four Series title.

“It's huge for the girls to beat the Black Ferns. The response from former players and our supporters has been overwhelming,” Bermudez told RugbyPass.

“We knew the pressures beforehand, the first win in New Zealand, the PAC Series 4 win. We tried to take that pressure away by focusing on what we could control.

“We were down 14-3 at halftime but that wasn't a big problem in a long game. We knew that if we stayed calm and collected ourselves, we might get some momentum.

“My attempts were based on big forward pushes with the help of Sophie De Guidi. We wanted to control the physical battle and when we did that, I had opportunities to pull back.

Canada made an astonishing 248 tackles (some sources say 227) with 14 players recording more than ten tackles. De Goede topped the count with 27, Pamphinette Buisa contributed with 22, and Emily Tuttosi with 20. At one stage the Black Ferns thwarted a 36-stage attack.

“We focused a lot on defense in this round. Tackle is about the willingness to fight, physicality and patience. Hearing those tackling statistics is crazy and makes me proud,” Bermudez said.

“New Zealand is a team that faces a lot of threats, so you have to face them and trouble them.

“I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous after Olivia Apps got the yellow card and Patricia Malibu scored. We didn't notice any shift in intensity. They kept coming and that's what we expected.

“We know we can compete with any team we face. It is gratifying to see what we have been building come to fruition.

Canada was defeated 52-21 in the corresponding match in 2023 and was paying $6.50 on New Zealand TAB to prevail.

A superior kicking game is complemented by a strong linear drive, a stable scrum, and more efficiency with possession of the apple cart. McKinley Hunt (16 tackles) scored Canada's second try while stalwart prop DaLeaka Menin (15 tackles) was officially named player of the match. The Black Ferns received 14 penalties and committed 13 turnovers.

Canada's win moved its official world ranking up two places. It is their best position since 2016. Earlier in the Pacific Championships, Canada crushed the USA (50-7) and Australia (33-14). De Goede was particularly assertive in both victories. She scored 18 points, made 21 assists and made 14 tackles against the United States. Against Australia, she contributed 24 carries and a dozen tackles.

In the 2023 World Championship, Canada beat Wales (42-22) and France (29-20). Bermudez scored a try in the French victory.

“Kevin [Rouet] “He made some changes to our program that allowed the players to contribute more and helped us develop a game plan that better suited our strengths,” Bermudez said.

“We have a collaborative environment where a lot of other coaches come in and share ideas. We've also aligned the Sevens program with the 15s and that's important because it means the best players are playing.

Bermudez was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She started playing rugby in middle school and was recognized by Canadian Sevens selectors at the age of 16. Bermudez was a regular on the SVNS circuit with 14 tries in 86 matches. Bermudez scored a hat-trick in her Canadian debut, a 66-7 win over South Africa in March 2023.

Perhaps the only victories in Canadian history to rival the Black Ferns on Sunday are the three victories over England in 2013 and 2016.

In 2016, Canada beat England 52-17 in the Super Series in Utah. Julianne Zusman scored two of the eight attempts and Andrea Burke scored 17 points.

Three years ago, Canada won the Nations Cup by defeating England 29-25 in the group stage. Tyson Beckboom, who made 17 tackles against the Black Ferns, played the first of 68 Tests for Canada. Magali Harvey scored two tries. In the final match in Colorado, Canada won 27-12, and Harvey equaled England's tally of 12 points.

Bermudez has little time to celebrate Canada's victory. She rejoins the Sevens squad for the SVNS Grand Final in Madrid next week.


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