Canadian women down Fiji 24-7 in final test before Rugby World Cup in New Zealand

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SUVA, Fiji — Tyson Beukeboom celebrated her 50th cap with a try off the bench as Canada defeated Fiji 24-7 Friday in its final test match ahead of next month’s Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Beukeboom is the fifth Canadian woman to reach the 50-cap milestone.

Sara Kaljuvee, Gillian Boag and Maddy Grant also scored tries for Canada in a game that was scoreless at the half at HFC Bank Stadium.

Akanisi Sokoiwasa scored the lone Fiji try, after an interception by Sesenieli Donu.

Sports runs in the Beukeboom family.

Cousins Matt and Brett Beukeboom have both played rugby for Canada, with Brett serving as co-captain, while her other two cousins are on the national women’s water polo team. Her mother was a track athlete, her brother a hockey player and her father, Jeff Beukeboom, played 13 seasons in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers, winning four Stanley Cup (1987, ’88 and ’90 with the Oilers and '94 with the Rangers).

The third-ranked Canadians are en route to New Zealand, where they open Pool B play against No. 13 Japan on Oct. 9 (New Zealand time) before facing No. 5 Italy and the sixth-ranked U.S. It will be the third World Cup for Beukeboom, a 31-year-old lock forward.

Fiji, ranked 21st in the world, is in Pool C with top-ranked England, No. 4 France and No. 11 South Africa.

Fiji is 3-3-0 in test matches this year, also losing to No. 13 Japan (28-14) and No. 7 Australia (36-19). Its three victories include a 152-0 shellacking of No. 49 Papua New Guinea in the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship in July in New Zealand, the highest-ever score in a women’s test match.

The 12-team World Cup, which runs through Nov. 2 in Auckland and Whangarei, was originally scheduled for 2021 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press