‘Winning wasn’t necessarily the main objective’

Canada has never beaten New Zealand. The Black Ferns are unbeaten in 17 meetings since the first Women's Rugby World Cup on April 6, 1991. Their last victory was a 52-21 defeat in Ottawa in July 2023.

That year, Canada struggled to climb out of the black hole after three straight defeats to England. But the players rallied around coach Kevin Rowett and turned things around, culminating in a 22-19 win in Christchurch on May 19, 2024. As a result, the Black Ferns displaced their rivals to take second place in the World Rugby rankings.


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How did you feel during the match?

“I was a bit nervous… The conditions were good, but the pitch was a bit slippery and there were a lot of mistakes in handling from both teams at the start. We managed to be in the game at half-time even though the first half was probably not our best. But we stayed at it and played a good 25 minutes in the second half. After that, when you feel you can win, it's better. We defended a lot in the last 20 minutes but what we lacked was the ability to defend against big teams in sequences big.

Do you feel that this historic win opened a door in the team?

“It's important for us. It was the first time Canada beat New Zealand, which has never happened before. Psychologically, it's important. France beat New Zealand, but we never beat them, so it's important for the girls.” “I think we were well prepared for the game. It was a good three-week run. We had a very strong and experienced team, which was important in the big moments.”

What has changed in Canada's game since last year?

“We are trying a lot of things. We lost to England three times last year. I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win. And then we changed our strategy, taking it one game at a time. We are making progress, trying to grow this team, “And building momentum so we don’t doubt ourselves when it comes to that, we have to be calm and calm and I think we did that. There were some good things in terms of managing the game.”

Does this mean that winning wasn't necessarily the main goal?

“Exactly, that's what we told ourselves the day before the match. We told ourselves that of course we wanted to win, but above all we had to try things, and that we shouldn't be afraid to play against New Zealand otherwise we wouldn't be able to. Of course, you always want to win, But in this case, we didn't want to win at all costs. It was more about learning to play together and growing together and I think that allowed us to play more relaxed.

A win like this means you can look forward to the WXV Championship in Canada with confidence…

“I like it: we'll be playing England, France and Ireland, so another series of games would be great. We'll probably play one or two friendlies against some good teams as well. It's true that when you go out and win it, you're in a close group and you're in “Good mentality. We need to get that spirit back in September. He created a good synergy within the group.”

When you knocked France out of third place in the world rankings, did you think you could move higher the following week?

“I knew if we beat Australia by more than 15 points we would finish third, but I didn't check if we could get past New Zealand. I thought they were too far away. I didn't get the information and I didn't know it until after the game. It's great, but we know that maybe It won't last. New Zealand will play Australia soon and I think if they win they will be back on top.

“It's great for the girls' morale. It's always great to say you're second in the world, but you know that's fleeting and you can drop to third very quickly. Obviously you're in a better position when you're second than when you're fourth.” They're beautiful marks, but you know they don't necessarily last long.

That's a lot of progress in one year…

“Our goal is to compete against the big countries. We beat France last year and now we face Australia, which is starting to improve. It was a very good performance because we controlled the game for 80 minutes, even if the score was not great. And the win over New Zealand, which we have not beaten since Before, it is very positive for the group.

What was the mood like in the team after the game, that evening and the next morning?

“At the same time as the win, Tyson Pukeboom became the player with the most caps (68 caps, editor's note), so there was a little celebration and little gifts around her. It was all about Tyson, and then I congratulated them, and the coaching staff and the players separated. We achieved Make the most of it, but everything closes early in New Zealand, it's not like France! Everything closes at midnight and things move very quickly and in the morning we had a small group activity when everyone was up at 10am tonight It was a bit short.

What timeline precedes WXV?

“It will be like all the teams, end of August, beginning of September. We were just waiting to know if we would play in WXV 1 or WXV 2; it is always difficult to organize matches. At the moment, we are talking to a number of teams about playing some friendly matches before the competition. It could be in Europe or here in Vancouver, Canada, maybe one game in Europe and one against a team coming to Vancouver earlier.

Captain Sophie De Guidi recently switched from XV to Sevens in preparation for the Olympics. A bit like Antoine DuPont in France…

“We've had more movement between Sevens and XV. The number is nine [Olivia Apps] And the number is six [Pamphinette Buisa] They are potential Olympians. For example, the captain of the Sevens team is the captain of the Sevens team. We've been really thinking about this move for the last couple of years. Even two and a half months before the Olympics, we were shuttling players between the XV and Sevens, talking to each other… We have a really good working relationship.

“Actually, Sophie has only recently started playing Sevens again. She doesn't have the same role in the XV as she does in Sevens right now, but I think that's good for her development. Canadian women often dream of the Olympics before the World Cup. This has been the “It's always been the case, we're a North American country. It's part of our culture.”


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