|England: (17) 29|
|Tries: Packer, Kildunne, Muir, Reed, Breach Cons: Jones 2|
|Canada: (5) 12|
|Tries: Svoboda, Perry|
England completed their preparations for the inaugural WXV tournament with a hard-earned victory over Canada, who were reduced to 14 in the first half.
Gabrielle Senft was sent off for a high tackle in the 17th minute at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium, but England were unable to match the eight-try haul of their 50-24 win over Canada last week.
Captain Marlie Packer, Ellie Kildunne and Maud Muir scored in the first half.
Amber Reed and Jess Breach added tries after the break.
Interim head coach Louis Deacon made eight changes as England tried out some new combinations.
In a sometimes scrappy second half, England’s attack missed opportunities and were frustrated by Canada’s resilient defence.
There were some good signs with the new centre combination of player-of-the-match Amber Reed and Megan Jones, in her first start, putting in a strong showing.
On Sunday, England are due to name their 30-player squad for the WXV1 tournament, which takes place in New Zealand from 20 October to 4 November.
Former New Zealand coach John Mitchell will take permanent charge of the Red Roses when he leaves his coaching role with Japan’s men at the end of their Rugby World Cup in France.
He could join up with England before their opening match against Australia on 20 October if Japan fail to make it out of Pool D.
England v Canada live coverage and reaction
With England seeking to play a more open and attacking style, they took the lead through a more traditional approach.
A driving maul from a line-out enabled skipper Packer to notch her 41st England try at her home ground.
An electric burst from Claudia MacDonald ended up with Kildunne powering over to score her 22nd England try.
Canada flanker Senft was then sent off for a dangerous tackle with her shoulder that left Hannah Botterman holding her head in pain.
Canada’s forwards rallied well and got their reward following a spell of pressure when flanker Sara Svoboda charged down Holly Aitchison’s attempted clearance to score.
Muir crashed over and Jones notched her first conversion to give England a 17-5 half-time lead.
England struggled to take full advantage of their extra player in the second half.
MacDonald should have had a clear run to the line but Breach’s pass was behind her, Kildunne kept the ball instead of passing to Breach and Packer dropped the ball when diving over the line from a rolling maul.
However, Reed spied a big gap in Canada’s defence and ran through to score and Jones accelerated away to send Breach over.
Canada’s Taylor Perry held off Packer’s challenge to rumble over the line as the visitors breached England’s defence for a second time.
Having already used all their substitutes, England finished the match with 14 players after replacement scrum-half Lucy Packer went off injured.
England: Kildunne; Breach, Jones, Reed, MacDonald; Aitchison, Hunt; Botterman, Cokayne, Muir, Aldcroft, Beckett, Talling, Allen, Packer (capt).
Replacements: Powell, Carson, Bern, O’Donnell, Galligan, Packer, Bridger, Dow.
Canada: Grant; Farries, Bermudez, Perry, Scurfield; Gallagher, Pelletier; DeMerchant, Tuttosi, Menin, Beukeboom, Holtkamp, Senft, Svoboda, De Goede.
Replacements: Boag, Hunt, Ellis, Royer, Forteza, Apps, Seumanutafa, Symonds.
Red card: Senft
Referee: Amber McLachlan (Australia)
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