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Sports This Week: Regina's Senft part of historic rugby win

The women's team will be in action on home soil this fall for WXV 1, with matches in British Columbia in September and October
Gab Senft by Chad Hipolito Rugby Canada 72
Regina’s Gabrielle Senft is part of Team Canada.

YORKTON - It was an historic victory in the annals of Canadian rugby as Canada's Women's Rugby Team defeated the New Zealand Black Ferns for the first time in team history to win the 2024 Pacific Four Series, with a 22-19 comeback victory over the reigning Pacific Four Series and Rugby World Cup champions.

Regina’s Gabriel Senft said the win was huge.

“We had such a good tournament,” she said.

It was also a testament “to the dedication and sacrifice” the team has made getting to the point they could notch the big win.

So what tipped the scales in Canada’s favour against the powerhouse Black Ferns?

“When I looked back and thought about it we had confidence in what we were doing . . .knowing we had every tool to succeed,” said Senft.

In watching the game the Canadians played the game like you’d expect a hockey country to – with a decided edge.

“That’s exactly what we want to be known for,” said Senft, adding it is part of “growing our Canadian identity as a rugby team.”

That identity starts with a level of physicality, especially on defence where Senft said they want to stymie every attack.

“We call it the red line,” she said of the defensive stance.

That physical nature of the Canadians also manifested itself in a dominating performance in mauls.

The team also wants to be flexible, added Senft, being ready to adapt in-game to whatever is required, a quick pass, good hands, or out-kicking the opposition.

As important as the win was, certainly among the biggest in the history of the women’s program in the country, it was not one the team could dwell on either, offered Senft.

While the win lifted Canada’s ranking to number two in the world -- the highest they have ranked since November 2016 -- there is more to achieve.

“We know we have more to do,” Senft told Yorkton This Week from France where she is already back with her club team.

“. . . The number one goal . . . is a gold.”

But there will be phases of importance along the way to that gold.

The women's team will be in action on home soil this fall for WXV 1, with matches in British Columbia in September and October. It will be the second annual edition of WXV 1, an elite international competition designed to accelerate the growth of women's rugby around the world.

The competition will feature the top three teams from the 2024 Pacific Four Series – Canada New Zealand and the USA -- and the top three teams from the 2024 Guinness Women's Six Nations – England, France and Ireland.

Senft said the first game in September will be another huge test for the team, taking on world number one England.