Canada could take another step toward greatness at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup on Wednesday when it faces host-nation France in the semifinals (on TSN at 2:30 p.m. ET).
With the sport returning to the Olympics after a hiatus since 1924, albeit the sevens version, Canada is quickly establishing itself as a rugby power in the women’s division.
Internationally, women’s rugby is very competitive with traditional nations that dominate the men’s side fielding strong teams often at the top of the medal table. New Zealand for instance, won four of the six WRWC tournaments, while England finished runner-up as many times to go with a lone title.
Canada has never soared higher than fourth. A win against France would guarantee its best ever result at the tournament but it will be a tough slog.
The home support has backed France to a perfect record of three wins against Wales, South Africa and Australia and conceding only six points against its opponents.
Canada is not a novice to demanding contests. Followed by a loyal traveling crowd, the Canadian women already showed it can match arguably the best team in the tournament in a gritty 13-13 draw against England in the final match of Group A. That outcome guaranteed both teams a spot in the semifinals.
France and Canada are no strangers in women’s rugby, as explained by Canadian coach Francois Ratier.
“We played France twice last November and have watched their games so far during the World Cup and we know they’re a very strong team. They will also have the support of a big crowd at Stade Jean Bouin, so it’s going to be a difficult game for us,” Ratier said in a Rugby Canada story.
England will meet Ireland in what will be another strongly contested semifinal earlier on Wednesday (also on TSN at 12:00 p.m. ET).