9 Nov 2022
Castle lauds never-say-die Canada attitude in last-gasp Brazil win
Canada broke Brazil's hearts with try at the death to finish campaign with a win
By Megan Armitage at Headingley Stadium
Head coach Mike Castle hailed Canada’s never-ending desire as Alanna Fittes' ‘amazing’ last-minute score clinched a 22-16 victory over Brazil in Leeds.
The victory ensured Canada finish third in Group A and do not walk away from the World Cup winless having made the semi-finals on debut in 2017.
Despite a rocky start, the North American side were able to battle back against a tough Amazonas, with Ferris Sandboe dotting down for their first after 20 minutes.
And Fittes’ 78th-minute try sealed the deal for Castle's side as they leave the tournament with a newfound competitiveness.
He said: "I don't know where that final score came from it was amazing. We just had the desire to push through and get the try.
"I might have ordered them to kick for a drop goal if it came to it but you can always trust with a player of that experience that they're going to make the right decision.
"It gives us confidence that we can be competitive, we were slightly disappointed with our performance, but we do know we are a better side than that.
"I think Brazil have been amazing, they're unconventional and unpredictable and we really struggled with that.
"They bring something new and exciting and we've enjoyed seeing and playing them.
"I hope that off the back of this World Cup we've generated some more support that can help bring resources in the future."
Brazil head coach Paul Grundy admitted he had mixed emotions after such an agonising defeat as his team exceeded expectations on the pitch.
Despite leaving the tournament winless, Grundy was pleased with the fire his team demonstrated in their final game and is looking towards an exciting future for the national side.
He said: "That was both heartbreak and not for me. I'm very proud of the team, they were excellent.
"After the last game, the girls beat themselves up and I was concerned the girls would carry that into today but they turned it into fire.
"It exceeded expectations a lot of ways today and we've grown so much in this tournament, so I'm really impressed.
"A draw would have been nicer, to try and get a field goal but you've got to move forward and I'm really looking forward to the future with this team."
Edna Santini's incredible length-of-the-pitch try was the undeniable highlight of the game for Brazil, intercepting and sprinting the full distance to dot down in the corner.
And although her solo score didn't end in a win for Brazil, Grundy said that it was a vital spark for the side.
He added: "It was pretty intense, Edna's got little legs and she's certainly not the fastest on the team, but it was a definite game changer and a mood changer for us.
“We were waiting for that break and Edna got that for us."
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets