Canada women’s 15s rugby team started strong as they defeated the U.S. 36-5 in the first game of the Pacific Four Series.
Victoria-born and raised Sophie de Goede captained the team for the first time at the age of just 22, and won the player of the match award in the process, kicking three conversions. Canada scored six tries in total – two apiece from Olivia DeMerchant and Pamphinette Buisa, and one each from Courtney Holtkamp and Taylor Perry helping Canada power to a strong victory.
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“Liv [Olivia DeMerchant] got us started with two tries, Pam [Buisa] came in really strong with that intercept try, I think, and we were all in awe. So, honestly, it was a team effort today,” de Goede said after the game.
As well as strong performances from de Goede, veterans Elissa Alarie and Paige Farries, who both play for Westshore RFC, were key contributors, with Renee Gonzalez, who also plays for Westshore and the University of Victoria, coming off the bench. Gonzalez and Alarie recently played on the sevens side in Langford.
The Pacific Four Series is a new competition comprising Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. The series will serve as a warmup ahead of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October and a test of the team’s mettle, the world number 3 ranked Canada hoping to go far in the tournament.
Canada plays the number 2 ranked New Zealand next on Sunday, June 12.