Canada clinched qualification for WXV 1 with a hard-fought bonus-point 33-14 victory against Australia in the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2024 in Sydney.

The top level of WXV will take place in Canada this September and October, and the host nation made sure of their participation in the tournament as they secured their second successive win in this year’s Pacific Four Series.

All five of Canada’s tries at Allianz Stadium came from their starting front-row as hooker Sara Cline and loose-head prop McKinley Hunt bagged a brace and tight-head DeLeaka Menin added a fifth.

Victory leaves Canada top of the Pacific Four Series standings with a maximum 10 points from two matches ahead of their final match against New Zealand next weekend.

“We did exactly what we came out to do,” Canada scrum-half Olivia Apps said afterwards.

“I’m super proud of the group. It wasn’t a clean game that’s for sure, lots of dropped balls but I’m very happy that we stayed together and got the win in the end.”

Despite some promising signs it was ultimately a disappointing start to life as Wallaroos coach for Jo Yapp, whose attention now turns to USA and a shot at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 qualification.

“Definitely glimpses of what we can do out there,” Australia winger Maya Stewart said. “You guys have seen tonight what we can do and there’s more in the tank, so stick with us.”

Canada had started their Pacific Four Series campaign with a 50-7 defeat of USA in Los Angeles on 28 April and it took them less than six minutes to open the scoring in Sydney as Cline touched down at the back of a driving maul.

The Canadians had won each of their previous five meetings with the Wallaroos by an aggregate score of 35-7 so it looked ominous when Hunt crashed over for her first try of the match four minutes later.

Australia rallied though and after Siokapesi Palu was denied a try by an earlier knock-on, Tania Naden took advantage of a powerful lineout drive to score.

Arabella McKenzie converted to narrow the hosts’ deficit to five points, at 12-7, but Cline went over again just after the half-hour mark to restore Canada’s 12-point lead.

That advantage was stretched to 26-7 early in the second half as Hunt went over for her second try of the match.

Australia hinted throughout the match at the potential that they possess under Yapp, and they forced their way back into the contest with a penalty try soon after.

Madison Grant was penalised for a deliberate knock-on as the hosts threatened to stretch the Canadian defence to breaking point, and referee Natarsha Ganley showed the winger a yellow card before running under the posts.

Despite playing the next 10 minutes with 14 players, though, it was Canada who struck next as tight-head Menin joined the front-row try party.

Sophie de Goede added her fourth conversion of the night to stretch Canada’s lead to 33-14 with half an hour to play, and that is how the score remained at the final whistle.