The U.S.A. U-20 women's national team dropped their second Nations Cup match and now face Canada for a spot in championship game.
Round two of the Women’s U20 Nations Cup wrapped up Sunday at Storke Field and the stage is set for a thrilling round three. England remains the only unbeaten team after taking down the USA 37-0 in round two and Canada defeated South Africa 27-7.
USA and Canada will do battle on Wednesday July 20 for spot in the championship game as each team has a 1-1 record in the tournament. South Africa will play England on Wednesday as well. England is guaranteed a spot in the final after going 2-0 through the first two rounds.
ENGLAND v. USA
England stormed to a 41-0 win over Canada in round one of the Women’s U20 Nations Cup, and the result would be similar against the USA in round two. Something that England’s national teams do at all levels is focus on the basics and do them well. Their U20 Women’s team is no exception. They executed the fundamentals extremely efficiently against the USA and ended up downing the tournament hosts 37-0.
The first 20 minutes of the game was played between the 22s and the USA built some good phases, but the rushing England defense started to push the Americans back and put them under immense pressure.
England scrumhalf Fiona Davidson put in a virtuoso performance in the number nine jersey and scored three tries, all of which were scored in very different situations. Davidson’s awareness and anticipation led to three five-pointers.
On her first score, play shifted fields and as the American defenders got set, Davidson noticed an undefended blindside and strolled in for the first points of the game.
Rebecca Hughes, the winger from Bristol, scored a great try in the corner after some beautiful quick passing stretched the Americans out wide.
One of the most effective weapons in England’s arsenal was the offload. The English delivery of the ball in contact and the receiver hitting the ball at pace was a one-two punch that led to three tries. Keeping the ball off the deck and moving forward kept the USA backpedaling.
Rachel Roberts sliced through the defense for a score from an offload and later, Davidson did the same later in the game. As the game wore on, England had the momentum and used it well.
Harriet Mills powered through tackles after the English forwards set up a maul and drove the defensive line back. The maul came down and Mills picked the ball up and bashed the line for a try.
After a strong performance starting against Canada in round one, Hannah Gallagher scored from a turnover following a fantastic USA line break.
England is destined for the championship game on Saturday July 23. That game will be webcast live on USA Rugby’s UStream channel.
England - 37
Tries: Davidson (15’, 55’, 67’), Hughes (21’), Roberts (31’), Mills (41’), Gallagher (77’)
Conversions: Large (42’)
USA - 0
CANADA v. SOUTH AFRICA
Nerves caused some early mishandles by both the South Africans and the Canadians, but it was the northerners that found composure first.
A controlled mindset allowed the Canadians to spin the ball wide effectively and when they did that, South Africa scrambled to get into position and by the time they were set, Canada was off to the races.
Canadian winger Bianca Farella was on an absolute tear, scoring three tries against South Africa. Two stemmed from precise handling by her teammates that unleashed the speedy wing to fly down the touchline for two scores. In her third try, Farella displayed a great step and patience on a break down the touchline. The splintered South African tacklers couldn’t match her speed as she pressed the ball down and tallied a hat trick for her team and country.
Canada’s defense must be credited for shutting down promising South Africa line breaks, as the scoreline may have been very different if they hadn’t have done so. South Africa’s fullback, Marithy Pienaar, made the Canadians pay for missed tackles on one occasion for points. Pienaar converted her own try accounting for all of her team’s points in the fixture.
A wide ball late in the game sent Jess Harvey over the line after precision passing through the hands and excellent awareness of numbers and space. Soon after that try, prop Olivia DeMerchant battered her way through the line to get over for a score of her own.
Canada and the USA are on a collision course in round three (Wednesday July 20), with the winning team from that game advancing to the U20 Nations Cup Championship game on Saturday July 23. South Africa will face an undefeated England side on Wednesday July 20.
Canada - 27
Tries: Farella (15’, 46’, 53’), Harvey (64’), DeMerchant (78’)
Conversions: Harvey (54’)
South Africa - 7
Tries: Pieenar (57’)
Conversion: Pieenar (57’)
Wednesday July 20
Santa Barabara, Calif.
4 p.m. England v. South Africa
6 p.m. - USA v. Canada
Saturday July 23
Santa Barabara, Calif.
2 p.m. – Women’s Under-20 Nations Cup Consolation Game (3rd/4th)
4 p.m. – Women’s Under-20 Nations Cup Championship Game (1st/2nd)
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