Following a successful February tour in Nevada where Rugby Canada’s women's sevens side defeated the Netherlands in the final 22-17 to take the Las Vegas International, final selections for the Hong Kong Sevens have been made. While the pools and fixtures for this popular event have not been released, among the teams participating are the hard charging team from China, the USA and current world champions, the Australia Wallaroos.
With the inclusion of Sevens rugby in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, events such as the highly competitive Hong Kong tournament take on added importance in terms of player development.
Two new faces were added into the international rugby mix as Lethbridge's 20-year-old Kelsey Willoughby, and 19-year-old Arielle Dubissette-Borrice (Ontario) make their first Canadian selections. They join Las Vegas Champions Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry, Mandy Marchak, Barbara Mervin, Ashley Patzer, Kelly Russell, Brittany Waters and Magali Harvey.
Las Vegas was 20 year old Harvey’s first appearance for Canada’s Sevens.
"Selection was very difficult, there were a lot of good performances throughout the Vegas tournament from a variety of players," said First year Head Coach John Tait.
"The limit of ten per squad for the Women's division in Hong Kong made it that much more tough. However, the positive is there is already a lot of competition within the country to represent Canada."
In selecting two uncapped players, Tait says it is a reward for the display these players put on last month, but also part of keeping an eye to the future.
"This squad has the components to be an exciting team with good versatility, size and speed," said Tait. "There is a good mix of experience and youth in this group, and some of the younger players showed in Vegas that you're old enough if you’re good enough.”
"Having the entire tournament take place over a one day format means we will need to manage the players and their time very carefully,” added Tait.
The women's team coaching staff will be bolstered by Toronto Scottish coach Sandro Fiorino* assisting John Tait.
The team assembles in Victoria, BC for a training camp March 18-21 before departing for Hong Kong on March 22nd.
Arielle Dubissette-Borrice (Toronto Nomads, ON/ Western University
Magali Harvey (Club de Rugby de Quebec/St. Francis-Xavier University
Jen Kish (Edmonton Lep Tigers, AB
Ghislaine Landry (Toronto Scottish RFC, ON & Bath Rugby, UK
Mandy Marchak (Capilano RFC & Saracens, UK)
Barbra Mervin (Velox Valkyries, BC)
Ashley Patzer (Lethbridge RC, AB)
Kelly Russell (Toronto Nomads, ON
Brittany Waters (Meraloma Athletic Club, BC
Kelsey Willoughby (Lethbridge RC, AB/ University of Lethbridge)
John Tait - Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino - Assistant Coach
Kristy Martin Hale - Manager
Laura Libby - Therapist
Non traveling Reserves-
Andrea Burke (Capilano RFC, BC)
Shannon Kane (Velox Valkyries, BC)
Darcy Patterson (Capilano RFC, BC
Cheryl Phillips (Toronto Scottish R.F.C, ON)
Brittany Orr (Lethbridge RC, AB/ University of Lethbridge)
Laura Stoughton (Calgary Irish, AB)
*Rugby Canada would like to thank Rugby Ontario and the Scottish for their financial support of Sandro Fiorino attending the event.
Canada is a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee. For the first time ever, Rugby Sevens will be an Olympic Sport at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic Games. For more details on Canada's results visit www.rugbycanada.ca.