Canada scrape past Brazil in World Cup thriller

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Canada Women v Brazil Women

Canada has won the 'Battle of the Americans' with a thrilling 22-16 victory over Brazil in their final group match of the Women's Rugby League World Cup in Headingley.

It was Brazil that opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes when Franciny Amaral crossed in the sixth minute. Amaral got across the line as she thundered forward and slid over the line to give the Amazonas an early 6-0 advantage. They should've had a second just minutes later, but at the critical moment the movement broke down with the line in front of them. 

The lack of fine-tuning on the Brazillian's finishing would come back to bite when the Canadian Ravens hit back midway through the first half. Laura Mariu displayed her ball-playing skills to put centre Ferris Sandboe over down the right-hand side of the park and it appeared that they would take the momentum of the game with them. 

That theory was on display four minutes later as the Ravens crossed for a second when Sarah Maguire took a short ball from Kristy Sargent to score and give Canada the lead. Sandboe should have had a second in the shadows of half-time but she spilt the ball with the line open and the Ravens went to the break up by four.

Brazil started the second half strongly when Edna Santini intercepted a wayward pass from Canada's Mariu to race 90 meters to level the scores back at 10-10. However, the Ravens were able to overcome its errors quicker and Canada soon re-captured the lead.

Megan Pakulis was able to burrow her way out of the dummy-half position, and after a lengthy check from the video referee, she was given the green light and it appeared they would take the momentum to get home. 

But without giving up the fight, Brazil were able to hang in there and level the scores back up at 16-16. Their third try of the contest came eight minutes from the end when Patricia Bodeman did what Pakulis did up the other end and burrowed her way over the line to lock the contest back level.

The final moments were tense, as both sides were trying desperately to break the deadlock. Eventually, Canada broke the tie on the scoreboard with just under 90 seconds to play when Alanna Fittes crossed the stripe keeping the ball just inside the field of play. A kick ahead by Canada was eventually toed ahead once more Dani Frenada and Fittes won the race to the ball first after the ball had a bounce from heaven to secure the Ravens first win of the tournament.

This was Canada's second Women's World Cup victory, after beating PNG by 22-8 in 2017. Coach Mike Castle stressed the importance of building upon this victory for the next World Cup "We have to use this momentum now and keep building the game in Canada and look forward to three years' time." Castle said. For Brazil, it was a case of heartbreak for the first-time participants. Their coach Paul Grundy was proud of his side's growth in this tournament. "I couldn't be prouder of the girls, they did exactly what we asked this time. A win would have been fantastic but the girls have a lot more in them and once they started to click it was brilliant." Grundy said. 

Canada Women 22 - Brazil Women 16

Venue: Headingley Stadium, Leeds
Crowd: 5471
Halftime Score: Canada Women 10 Brazil Women 6 Players of the Match:
3 points - Alanna Fittes
2 points - Maria Graf
1 points - Kristy Sargent

Tries: Ferris Sandboe, Sarah Maguire, Megan Pakulis, Alanna Fittes
Conversions: Dani Frananda (3/4)

Tries: Franciny Amaral, Edna Santini, Patricia Bodeman
Conversions: Maria Graf (2/3)

See how it happened in our Match Centre