VINCENTIA’S Asheligh Hewson and the Buildcorp Wallaroos have gone down to Canada 45-5 in their final match of the International Women’s Rugby Series in Rotorua, New Zealand.
The Canadians outscored the Australians seven tries to one, with Queensland-based prop Hilisha Samoa scoring Australia’s only try at the beginning of the second half.
Despite the defeat, the match was an important opportunity for many players to stake their claim for World Cup selection, with nine changes having been made to the Wallaroos line-up after the recent match against New Zealand.
“While we were disappointed with the result today, the tour has provided us a chance for the squad to get a realistic view of the work ahead of them before we head to the World Cup in Ireland,” Wallaroos head coach Paul Verrell said.
“We’ve uncovered some talented new players across the three matches with 11 new players earning their first caps.
“The focus now is to ensure we continue to build in the six week block we have to prepare for the World Cup.
“The girls will be working hard in their respective states before we come together at our final pre-World Cup training camp at Narrabeen in Sydney in August.”
An early injury to number eight Victoria Latu and a yellow card to captain Cheyenne Campbell put the Wallaroos hopes under duress in the opening minutes.
Canada opened the scoring through Jane Kirby with a pick-and-drive effort in the 13th minute, closely followed by a try to Julianne Zussman two minutes later.
Two successful conversions from winger Magali Harvey gave the Canadians a 14-nil lead.
Frederique Rajotte scored in the 23rd minute off the back of a cut-out pass, before flyhalf Emily Belchos crossed for Canada’s fourth try at the 34-minute mark.
Harvey slotted the conversion to give her side a 26-nil lead as the two teams headed into the sheds at half-time.
Reserve prop Samoa scored Australia’s sole try in the 47th minute, jumping over a ruck centimetres from the try-line, leaving the score at 26-5.
Despite an improved defensive effort from the Wallaroos in the second half, the Canadians crossed for a further three tries through Harvey, Kelly Russell and Zussman, who closed the match with her second try, leaving the final score at 45-5.