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Canadian rugby forward Tyson Beukeboom to earn record 68th cap against New Zealand

Veteran forward Tyson Beukeboom will lead Canada out against New Zealand on Sunday as she enters the Canadian rugby record book. It marks the 68th career cap for the 33-year-old lock from Uxbridge, Ont.
United States' Atumata Hingano (23) is tackled by Canada's Tyson Beukeboom, bottom right, and Pamphinette Buisa during the second half of a Pacific Four Series women's rugby match Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Carson, Calif. Veteran forward Beukeboom will lead Canada out against New Zealand on Sunday as she enters the Canadian rugby record book. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Veteran forward Tyson Beukeboom will lead Canada out against New Zealand on Sunday as she enters the Canadian rugby record book.

It marks the 68th career cap for the 33-year-old lock from Uxbridge, Ont., moving her past retired Rugby Canada Hall of Famer Gillian Florence for first place among Canadian women.

"That's an incredible achievement and it shows in the way that she carries herself and leads our team on and off the field," said Canada captain Sophie de Goede. "She brings a wealth of experience, obviously … She also has a really direct and intelligent way of speaking about the game that she shares very well with everyone.

"She's just a really quality person, very loyal to our team. I feel grateful that she's a teammate and a friend."

Listed at 5-11 and 178 pounds, Beukeboom also packs a punch whether it be as a ball-carrier or a tackler.

"She's definitely the type of player and person that you want on your team, and not playing against her," de Goede said with a smile. "I've had to do it a couple of times and it's not fun."

The most experienced New Zealand player Sunday will be co-captain and fly half Ruahei Demant, who has 34 caps.

Beukeboom won her first cap in July 2013 against England in Denver. Canada won 29-25, marking its first-ever victory over the Red Roses. 

On Sunday, she'll be hoping to help third-ranked Canada to a first-ever win over the World Cup champion Black Ferns.

Canada has lost all 17 previous meetings, with 10 of those defeats by 27 points or more. No. 2 New Zealand won 52-21 the last time they met, last July in Ottawa at the Pacific Four Series.

The closest Canada has come to a win was a 16-8 loss in Tauranga in June 2014, a match that marked the only time New Zealand has failed to score 20 points against Canada.

There is plenty on the line Sunday at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch.

Canada will be crowned Pacific Four Series champion for the first time if it can beat New Zealand. A draw could also be enough, providing only Canada gets a bonus point

A win and Canada will also replace New Zealand in second place in the world rankings, equalling its highest-ever position (last occupied in November 2016). The Black Ferns have never been lower than No. 2 in the rankings, which were introduced in February 2016.

A loss Sunday and the Canadians will fall back to No. 4 behind France.

Canada opened tournament play with a 50-7 win over the United States on April 28 in Carson, Calif., before dispatching host Australia 33-14 last Saturday in Sydney.

The win over the Wallaroos helped Canada overtake France and move into third in the rankings. It also secured Canada’s spot in the top division of the WXV tournament, which Vancouver is hosting in September-October.

After Canada, New Zealand hosts Australia on May 24 in North Harbour, The Black Ferns thumped the U.S. 57-5 last Friday in Hamilton.

Both Canada and New Zealand have essentially stuck with the same roster as last time out.

Canada coach Kevin Rouet makes three changes, one of which is positional.

Julie Schell comes in at fullback for Sarah-Maude Lachance, who has returned to her club in France after injuring her shoulder in the Australia win. Shoshanah Seumanutafa slots in at outside centre, with Fancy Bermudez shifting over to make her international start on the wing and Maddie Grant dropping to the bench.

Seumanutafa also started against the U.S. while Schell came off the bench against the U.S. and Australia.

Alexandra Tessier starts at centre after leading the team out against Australia on the occasion of her 50th cap. She is the eighth Canadian woman to achieve this milestone.

Former UBC Thunderbird Rachel Smith joined the squad this week as an injury replacement.

New Zealand make one change with Chryss Viliko, making her first start at loosehead prop, replacing the injured Kate Henwood. Prop Aldora Itunu, among the replacements, is set to make her return to test play for the first time since 2021 after giving birth to son, Ezekiel, in December 2022.

New Zealand can retain its Pacific Four title and secure WXV 1 qualification if it secures a bonus point win Sunday and denies Canada a losing bonus point along with Australia not picking up a bonus point win.

The top three teams in the Pacific Four Series will join No. 1 England, No. 4 France and No. 9 Ireland — the top three teams in the recent Women's Six Nations — in the top division of the WXV.

Rouet's record as Canada coach is 16-7-0 with the losses all coming at the hands of higher-ranked teams: England (four times), New Zealand (twice) and France.


McKinley Hunt, King City, Ont., Saracens (England); Sara Cline, Edmonton, Western Force (Australia); DaLeaka Menin, Vulcan, Alta., Exeter Chiefs (England); Tyson Beukeboom, Uxbridge, Ont., Ealing Trailfinders (England); Laetitia Royer, Loretteville, Que., ASM Romagnat (France); Pamphinette Buisa, Gatineau, Que., Ottawa Irish; Sophie de Goede (capt), Victoria, Saracens (England); Gabrielle Senft, Regina, Stade Bordelais (France); Olivia Apps, Lindsay, Ont., Lindsay RFC; Claire Gallagher, Caledon, Ont., Leicester Tigers; Paige Farries, Red Deer, Alta., Saracens (England); Alexandra Tessier, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, Que., Exeter Chiefs (England); Shoshanah Seumanutafa, White Rock, B.C., Chiefs Manawa (New Zealand); Fancy Bermudez, Edmonton, Westshore RFC; Julia Schell, Uxbridge, Ont., Ealing Trailfinders (England).  


Emily Tuttosi, Souris, Man., Exeter Chiefs (England); Brittany Kassil, Guelph, Ont, Guelph RFC; Alexandria Ellis, Ottawa, Stade Français Paris (France); Courtney Holtkamp, Rimbey, Alta., Red Deer Titans Rugby; Julia Omokhuale, Calgary, Leicester Tigers (England); Fabiola Forteza, Quebec City, Stade Bordelais (France); Justine Pelletier, Riviere-du-Loup, Que., Stade Bordelais (France); Madison Grant, Cornwall, Ont., Cornwall Claymores.

New Zealand

Chryss Viliko, Georgia Ponsonby, Tanya Kalounivale, Maiakawanakaulani Roos, Maama Mo'onia Vaipulu, Layla Sae, Kennedy Simon (co-capt.), Liana Mikaele-Tu'u, Maia Joseph, Ruahei Demant (co-capt.), Katelyn Vahaakolo, Logo-i-Pulotu Lemapu-Atai'i (Sylvia) Brunt, Amy du Plessis, Ruby Tui, Mererangi Paul.


Luka Connor, Amy Rule, Aldora Itunu, Charmaine Smith, Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Iritana Hohaia, Hannah King, Patrica Maliepo.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2024.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press