WIGAN, United Kingdom — Tara Stanley scored three of England's 11 tries in a comprehensive 54-4 win over the outmatched Canada Ravens in pool play Saturday at the Rugby League World Cup.
It was one-way traffic with the Canadian women forced to defend most of the afternoon at DW Stadium.
Hollie Dodd and Leah Burke had two tries apiece while Georgia Wilson, Francesca Goldthorp, Georgia Roche and Carrie Roberts added single tries for England, which led 30-0 at the half. Stanley kicked five conversions.
Petra Woods scored the lone try for Canada, which missed 43 tackles in the first half alone compared to six for England.
Woods's try came in the 48th minute, with Canada down 40-0. After England fumbled a Canadian kickoff, Woods took an offload from captain Gabby Hindley and found a gap in the England defence.
"England are an outstanding side," said Canada coach Mike Castle, who lamented early errors by his team. "My message to the girls will be that's where we need to get to. And that's going to be a great lesson for them, that game."
Both Canadian women's rugby squads were in action against England on the weekend. The Rugby League World Cup matchup started some six hours after the third-ranked Canadian women's rugby union team narrowly lost 26-19 to No. 1 England some 18,000 kilometres away in the Rugby World Cup semifinal in Auckland, New Zealand
Rugby league is the less popular rugby code, played primarily in Australia, England and New Zealand.
Rugby league has 13 players per side as opposed to 15 for rugby union. In rugby league, the team with the ball has six attempts to move it up the field. Teams will usually kick for position when they get to the sixth attempt without scoring.
A try in rugby league is worth four points, compared to five for rugby union.
Canada, in its second Rugby League World Cup, lost 34-12 to Papua New Guinea in its opening match Tuesday while England hammered tournament debutant Brazil 72-4.
The Canadians complete Group A play on Wednesday against Brazil in Leeds.
England is ranked third in the world while Canada is No. 6 and Brazil No. 17. But the rankings mean little given the Canadian women play so few matches. Their last trip was a 2019 tour to Serbia.
Canada had a horrendous start with fullback Karina Gauto fumbling the opening kickoff. England spun the ball wide and Burke outmuscled two defenders to touch down in the corner in the first minute for a 4-0 lead.
Veteran standoff Laura Mariu drew oohs from the stands when she steamrollered England prop Shona Hoyle in a sixth-minute tackle. The 41-year-old Mariu is playing in her sixth World Cup. her first in Canadian colours after a distinguished career with New Zealand. Mariu is eligible to play for Canada through her Toronto-born mother.
The Canadians regained their composure and attacked the English try-line, only to be stopped a metre away. England's goal-line defence held again in the 12th minute.
After pinning Canada in its own end, England scored again in the 17th minute with the 19-year-old Dodd dancing around two Canadian defenders for an 8-0 lead.
Courtney Winfield-Hill set up another try three minutes later with a cross-field kick after Canada was penalized for a high tackle. Wilson scored on an overlap for a converted try that upped the lead to 14-0.
England kept up the pressure, taking advantage of a turnover near the Canadian try-line with an unmarked Dodd scoring her second try in the 26th minute as England stretched its advantage to 20-0.
Canada's Brittany Jones had to be helped off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury in the 31st minute.
A minute later, England found the Canadian defence wanting on the flank with Goldthorp touching down for a 24-0 lead. It was more of the same in the 35th as Roche went over under the posts.
Despite some handling errors, England kept the scoreboard turning over in the second half as rain started falling.
It took less than a minute for Stanley to score after the Canadian defence was busted open on two straight runs by the English forwards. Stanley took advantage of poor Canadian tackling to score again three minutes later for a 40-0 lead.
England added tries by Roberts (52nd minute), Stanley (60th) and Burke (67th).
Castle made three changes to his starting 13, slotting in Jones, Natasha Naismith and Rachel Choboter. Alix Evans and Zoey Siciliano moved onto the interchange bench.
The England lineup featured seven new players as coach Craig Richards made use of his squad's depth.
The Canadian women scored their first-ever international win in 2017, defeating Papua New Guinea 22-8 before losing 58-6 to eventual champion Australia in the semifinals of the then-six-team competition.
The women's field is up to eight teams this time, with the addition of Brazil and France.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2022
The Canadian Press