Kelly Russell (Rugby Canada photo)

Kelly Russell (Rugby Canada photo)

Canada, Russells rally against Wales at World Cup

Canadians face Australia for fifth place on Saturday

Eliminated from medal contention at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, Canada — which includes Cowichan Rugby Football Club stars Kelly and Laura Russell and Tyson Beukeboom — kept alive its hope of finishing in the top five with a convincing win over Wales on Tuesday.

After winning their first two matches of the tournament, Canada was defeated 28-16 by New Zealand last Thursday, knocking them out of the top four. Determined to still get their best possible finish — fifth — the Canadians routed Wales 52-0 on Tuesday, Canada’s second win over Wales after a round-robin victory earlier.

“We needed to come out strong and we did a lot of work on the breakdown and the girls had something to prove today,” said Kelly Russell, Canada’s captain. “I’m really proud of the way they rallied together after a bit of a disappointment earlier this week. The girls executed great today and our handling and ball security was much better. This is a strong group of women and I’m lucky to be surrounded by them.”

Both Russell sisters started for Canada in the loss to New Zealand and the playoff win over Wales. Beukeboom, a sub in all three of Canada’s round-robin matches, did not get into the rematch with Wales.

Australia beat Ireland in the fifth-place bracket’s other semifinal, setting up a showdown between Canada and Australia for fifth and sixth. Canada won 45-5 when the teams met earlier this season in the International Women’s Rugby Series in New Zealand.

kevin.rothbauer@cowichanvalleycitizen.com