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Wales Women beaten by Canada in final Autumn outing

Siwan Lillicrap’s Welsh Women’s team led the third best team in the world, Canada for almost an hour as they threw the kitchen sink into their third and final game this autumn.

After ending their long-running losing streak with decisive wins over Japan and South Africa, the game against the Canadians was always going to be their biggest test at Cardiff Arms Park.

With a chance to move back into the top 10 in the world rankings with a third win, the home side played with passion, pride and precision throughout the first half. They rocked the visitors with their physicality and skill and were good value for their 7-0 interval lead.

Wales earned an early advantage when Tyson Beukeboom received a yellow card, and seconds later hooker Carys Phillips powered over for her fourth try of the month off the back of a driving line-out. Elinor Snowsill added the extras and Wales were flying.

The Canadians then lost their skipper and prop Olivia DeMerchant for the rest of the game when she was adjudged to have made contact with the head going too high into a tackle. Wales pressed hard for more scores, but had to be content with a 7-0 advantage at the break.

The visitors turned on the power in the second half and were unlucky not to close the gap when they had a try ruled out for obstruction by the TMO. The next time they got close to the Welsh line they didn’t make any mistakes and Courtney Holtkamp bagged a try that somehow went unconverted from in front of the posts.

Wales did all they could to stem the tide, but when Phillips picked up a yellow card with 25 minutes to go their task became even harder.

DaLeaka Menin crossed for a second Canadian try, which Alexandra Tessier this time converted, to give the visitors the lead. They then added another before Phillips returned, Sabrina Poulin scoring with a great solo run to create a 10 point lead.

The fourth and final try came from Ngalula Fuamba to give the Canadians a 24-7 triumph at the end of a tough tussle against a highly committed Welsh team.

“I thought we were excellent for the first 40 maybe 50 minutes then their bench made a big difference. We’ve got great learnings to take from the game and the girls have been excellent throughout this campaign,” said Wales head coach, Ioan Cunningham.

“It has been excellent putting the new structures in place, a new coaching group, spending quality time together as a team and improving from Japan and South Africa. I’m happy with the whole campaign.”

There was a special moment at the end of the game when Wales centre Hannah Jones was proposed to in front of her team mates by her now fiancée, Llandovery and Italy U20 prop Dino Dallavalle.


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