England easily defeated Canada in the WXV competition, with Atkin-Davies scoring four goals during the match.
Lark Atkin-Davies was responsible for scoring four tries as England easily defeated Canada 45-12 in their second game of the first WXV tournament in Dunedin. All four of the hooker’s tries were scored through successful rolling mauls, helping England continue their strong performance after their initial victory against Australia and maintain their leading position in the six-team group.
England’s win secures their potential victory in WXV1 if they can defeat the host team, New Zealand, in their upcoming final match. Interim coach Louis Deacon stated, “We are not where we aspire to be and there is still a considerable distance to cover. With a new coaching team, we are constantly learning on this journey. However, we are pleased to see a balance emerging in our game and it is crucial to understand that balance.”
In the beginning of the game, England quickly gained an advantage when Ellie Kildunne scored a try after taking advantage of several mistakes made by the Canadian team. Holly Aitchison successfully converted, giving England a seven-point lead. Canada fought back with a try from Emily Tuttosi, taking advantage of Aitchison’s temporary removal from the game for intentionally knocking the ball forward. However, it wasn’t until three minutes before halftime that England was able to fully establish their dominance.
Atkin-Davies scored a try from the back of the maul just before half-time, and she did it again moments later. Two successful conversions by Helena Rowland gave England a 21-5 lead at the break.
After losing to England in the previous year’s World Cup semi-final, the Canadian team bounced back with a goal from Paige Farries in the beginning of the second half. However, England widened their lead with two more goals from Atkin-Davies.
In the 69th minute, Kildunne’s precise pass set up Jess Breach’s sprint for a try. Soon after, Claudia MacDonald scored England’s seventh and last try, evading a group of sluggish Canadian defenders. Rowland successfully kicked her fourth conversion, securing yet another impressive victory for England. This win gives them momentum heading into next week’s highly-anticipated rematch against the World Cup finalists.
Deacon praised his team’s performance over the week, stating that their preparation was top-notch and it showed on the field. He was particularly pleased with their execution of set-piece plays, specifically the lineout and maul. However, he acknowledged that there is still room for improvement.