The final match of the BC U18 women’s tour of England took place in the Sussex countryside at Pulborough RFC on Saturday. The picturesque setting is home to the current England U18 Women’s Club Champions, so there was a stern test in store for the BC women.
The prowess of the Pulborough forwards was evident from the first ruck. Quick to the breakdown and quick to secure the ball, Pulborough had BC moving slowly but steadily backwards for the first couple of minutes. However, centre Brittany Gardiner read a Pulborough pass perfectly, intercepted, and legged out a 60 meter try that went unconverted to open the scoring.
Weathering the onslaught of Pulborough’s forwards, and then effectively counterattacking was essentially the tale of the game. BC spent much of the rest of the half pinned in their own end, but another turnover saw the ball quickly moved to the outside where Ella O’Regan used her pace to score a second long-distance effort. This time, Jordyn Myers was good for the extras, pegging BC to a 12-0 lead.
An injury to each team ended the half slightly early. While BC hook Karen Garcia was helped off to tend to a badly sprained ankle, the Pulborough player suffered a neck injury and was immobilized out of an abundance of caution. We’ve since received reports that she’s suffered a soft tissue injury, so our thoughts go out to her for a speedy recovery.
An agreement was made that the match would continue, but with the field being well shortened to avoid the injured player. The second half started much as the first finished, with BC being put under immense pressure on both sides of the ball. The focus on defence in training and the extremely high level of fitness of the BC team showed as the game wore on; Pulborough kept denying BC possession and battered away at the defensive line, only to break like waves upon a rock each time. Eventually, BC forced another turnover, again the ball was moved quickly outside, and this time it was wing Melissa Jongedijk touching down for the try after showing her speed. Once again Myers slotted the extras, extending BC’s lead to 19-0.
The boisterous Pulborough crowd urged their team on, and it wasn’t long before BC found themselves weathering the storm yet again. Finally, after defending for the majority of the first hour, BC finally had a breach in their line and Pulborough punched in a try in the corner. The conversion was missed, 19-5 to BC.
Just before the final whistle, while pinned yet again in the BC end, fly half Emily Parker found space behind the Pulborough backs with a kick that was pursued by Maëlle Reed, who outran the defence, gathered the ball, and scored the game’s final try. This brought the final score to 24-5 and brought the tour record to a perfect 3-0.
This was by far the toughest test of the tour. Said coach Stuart Crowley, “This was exactly what we wanted from this tour, to challenge the girls, so it was perfect that the previous two matches built up to this. We didn’t get to play with the ball much today, but our focus on defence throughout our training absolutely paid off.”
Thanks to Pulborough RFC for a beautiful setting and generous hosting afterwards, and for inviting England international Jess Breach to watch the game and trade kit with the players afterwards. In all, an excellent end to a fantastic tour. Thank you again to Old Albanians RFC and Surrey RFC for their wonderful hosting and sportsmanship and a huge congratulations to all of the players and staff on the tour.
Watch the Pulborough match on BC Rugby's YouTube channel.
BC U18 Girls' XV Tour Schedule
|2018 BCRU U18 Girls XV Roster|
Kashish Arya - University of Toronto
Tayler Bailey - University of Victoria
Maddy Blusson - University of British Columbia
Anna Castillo - University of Toronto
Hailey Chambers - Kamloops RFC
Chloe Cullen - St. Francis Xavier University
Karen Garcia - University of Victoria
Brittany Gardiner - Castaway Wanderers RFC
Melissa Jongedijk - University of the Fraser Valley
Kyla Knox - University of the Fraser Valley
Trinity Knox - University of the Fraser Valley
Ally Marti - Unattached
Emily Meier - Yale/Abbotsford RFC
Jordyn Myers - University of Victoria
Makenzie Myles - Acadia University
Ella O'Reagan - Claremont/James Bay AA
Emily Parker - Castaway Wanderers RFC
Maelle Reed - Castaway Wanderers RFC
Nicola Smith - University of Victoria
Rachel Smith - Earl Marriott/Bayside RFC
Kaylee Wolflinger - Hugh McRoberts/Richmond RFC
Zoe Williams - Belmont/Westshore RFC
Liriel Yurick - Abbotsford RFC
Stuart Crowley - Head Coach
Deanna Barker - Assistant Coach
Kyle Barry - Manager
Morgan Sangster - Athletic Therapist