19 May 2024

Black Ferns fail to defend their Pacific Four title after three-point loss to Canada

7:20 pm on 19 May 2024
Fancy Bermudez of Canada scores a try in the tackle of  Sylvia Logo-i-Pulotu Lemapu-Atai'i Brunt of the Black Ferns during the Pacific Four Series rugby match, New Zealand Black Ferns V Canada, Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 19th May 2024. Copyright photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Fancy Bermudez's speed and power were on display during her side's victory over the Black Ferns. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2024 www.photosport.nz

The world champion Black Ferns have suffered a historic 22-19 loss to Canada in their Pacific Four rugby test decider in Christchurch.

The Canadian women claimed the nail-biting win, beating New Zealand for the first time and claiming the Pacific Four Series title.

The Black Ferns will slip to third place in the women's World Rugby rankings, with Canada moving ahead of New Zealand to No 2.

England tops the rankings by a margin, but Canada makes its first appearance inside the top two.

Canadian captain Sophie de Goede said she felt speechless after the victory.

"We've been knocking on the door and pushing to make a statement on the world stage for a while now.

"You can see the experience growing within our team and the young ones coming up."

De Goede credited the tireless effort on defence of her players.

"You can see when you watch how special it is, but I'm just so proud to be Canadian and to play alongside these incredible women."

Black Ferns co-captain Kennedy Simon credited Canada for their stunning performance, with the pressure piling on the home side in the chilly conditions.

"We let them get on top of us.

"We're lethal when we have the ball in hand and when we're in control - it's just [about] having more of those moments.

"We were trying to focus on our set piece and have the ball in hand."

Black Ferns winger Katelyn Vaha'akolo scored two first-half tries, as the home side went to an early lead.

New Zealand held a 14-10 half-time advantage but they had no answer to Canada after the break.

Canada's momentum continued as Fancy Bermudez added her second try of the match in the 60th minute.

Bermudez's try was a testament to her speed and power close to the line, breaking through New Zealand's defence in impressive fashion.

A successful conversion by de Goede extended Canada's lead to eight, putting them in a strong position as the match entered its final stages.

Despite New Zealand's late surge, Canada's defence held firm, and they managed to maintain their slim lead until the final whistle.

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