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Canada's U20 women rode a strong second half to beat the USA U20s 25-15 in the first round of the Women's U20 Nations Cup in England Thursday.

The teams were tied 10-10 at halftime. The USA got a try from prop Hope Rogers, converted by Anne Peterson, and Bizer added a penalty.

Canada used the foot of Jessica Neilson and a try from Paige Ferries to score 10 points in the first half. "The first 20 minutes was a battle and by half time it was tied,” said Canada U20 coach Sandro Fiorino after Thursday’s game. “We persevered in the first 10 minutes of the second half and got two quick scores and continued to focus on defense."

Going into the second half tied at 10 apiece, Canada rose to the occasion, stifling the American side until the late stages of the game. Fiorino gave credit to the entire team for their strong play but praised the defensive efforts of captain Sara Kaljuvee and Nadia Popov to keep Canada in the lead.

Emily Barber and Popov added second-half tries for Canada and put the game out of reach. For the newcomers on the squad, the atmosphere was something to remember. "It was absolutely incredible, standing there singing our anthem for the first time and the whole team really came together," noted Jess Neilson after the game.

The Junior All Americans did get one more try, when Bizer went over late.

In his first game as head coach of the Under 20 Women’s National Team, Fiorino was able to take away some positives while focusing on areas to work on. "I was happy with the tackling. We played strong defensively. The end goal is to take a look at the game film, make the adjustments that we need to make. We have to fix our scrums and our lineouts."

The road for the Canadian team doesn’t get easier. The team will have two days of rest before facing off against the two-time defending champions from England.

Canada 25
Tries: Ferries, Popov, Barber 
Convs: Neilson 2
Pens: Neilson 2

USA 15
Tries: Rogers, Bizer
Convs: Peterson
Pens: Bizer

Canada looks ahead now to England, while the USA will face South Africa. Both games will be on Sunday, July 14.

Canada Starting Lineup

  1. Ashley Delaney
  2. Charli Mocon
  3. Deleaka Menin
  4. Jordyn Rowntree
  5. Cindy Nelles
  6. Daria Keane
  7. Katie Svoboda
  8. Nadia Popov
  9. Lori Josephson
  10. Jess Neilson
  11. Paige Farries
  12. Sara Kaljuvee
  13. Breanne Nicholas
  14. Frederique Rajotte
  15. Emily Belchos

USA Starting Lineup 

  1. Maxine Fonua (Stanford)
  2. Danielle Ciocco (Penn State)
  3. Hope Rogers (Penn State)
  4. Hannah Price (Clemson)
  5. Megan Pinson (Fallbrook High School)
  6. Kelsey Harris (Penn State)
  7. Elizabeth Cairns (Penn State, field captain)
  8. Jordan Gray (Women’s Cougar Rugby)
  9. Cassidy Meyers (Kent High School)
  10. Anne Peterson (Washington State, vice captain)
  11. Natalie Kosko (Quinnipiac)
  12. Nicole Heavirland (Exeter High School)
  13. Brianna Troyer (Penn State)
  14. Maggie Myles (West Carroll)
  15. Meya Bizer (Penn State)