Canada signalled their intentions to go one better than three years ago with a record 16-try defeat of Women’s Rugby World Cup debutants Hong Kong at Billings Park, surpassing their previous highest score of 79 against Scotland in 2006.
Hong Kong battled bravely from start to finish against a side ranked 20 places above them in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings, but had no answer to the power and pace of the Canadians, who scored a number of their tries from inside their own half.
Canada winger Magali Harvey, one of the stars of WRWC 2014, put her name at the top of the points and try-scoring charts with five tries – three of them in the first half – amid a 41-point haul, showcasing both her electric pace and sublime footwork in a performance that saw her named Aon Player of the Match.
Prop DaLeaka Menin had a barnstorming first half, carrying for more than 110 metres, before she was replaced early in the second. By that time Canada had added two further tries through Alarie and replacement Amanda Thornborough. Centre Alex Tessier then added another before each side lost a player to the sin-bin in winger Chong Ka Yan and Canada replacement Olivia DeMerchant.
Harvey, replacement Brittany Waters, Kelly Russell, completing the number eight’s own hat-trick, and Thornborough crossed to inch closer to a century of points. Harvey fittingly scored Canada’s 16th and final try, but Brianna Miller couldn’t add the conversion from out wide with the final act of the game.
Canada captain Kelly Russell: “Keeping the continuity is something we’ve really been focusing on and it was a great job by the girls to keep that going. Credit to Hong Kong, they were really good in the ruck and gave it to us a couple of times in there and that is something we are going to have to clean up. It is important to get all the girls out there on the pitch, we want them to come on and bring it when they step on and I’m really proud of the team and the effort they put in. Across the board anyone of the girls could be in the starting line-up, it’s just starters and finishers.”
Hong Kong captain Chow Mei Nam: “It was a very exciting game and the first time here (in a World Cup), it is very good to be here. I told my team-mates to play with their hearts, play tough and enjoy the first match. We are enjoying it, everyone loved this game. We will study up and try to improve for next time.”
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