Vancouver, BC: In ten days time, hundreds of elite Canadian rugby players will scrum down at the University of British Columbia's Wolfson Fields for the 2011 National Women's League finals.
From June 30th through July 3rd, provincial teams will be competing in a tournament featuring the highest level of domestic women's rugby in the country. The BC Senior Women's team will look to defend their national title on home soil and will be in pursuit of their fourth championship in five years.
For the first time in the history of the British Columbia Rugby Union, BC will enter a Under-23 squad into the Tier Two championship and will field a team for the inaugural Under-20 national competition.
BC Senior Women
Returning to lead the BC Senior Women in their NWL title defence is head coach Jason Young, who guided the provincial squad to an undefeated 2010 campaign and their third national championship in four years. Young brings a wealth of experience having also coached the BC Under-19 women's team for three seasons as well as the National Under-20 team for two years.
Five players from last year's championship team went on to represent Canada at the 2010 Rugby World Cup in England and will bolster this year's provincial squad with their experience and leadership . Those players include Marlene Donaldson (Velox RFC), Corinne Jacobsen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club), Kim Donaldson (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club), Julia Sugawara (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club) and Brittany Waters (Meraloma Rugby Club).
The squad will feature four players from 2011 Adidas Prmiership champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club and four members from runners-up Velox Valkyries. Young's roster also features five players from West Vancouver's Capilano RFC, including the 2011 Adidas Premiership's top regular season scorer Andrea Burk who led the league with 90 points.
BC enters the tournament as the top seed and will open their 2011 campaign against Alberta on Thursday, June 30th. The winner of that match will advance to the final on July 3rd against either the second-seeded Ontario Storm or third-seeded Quebec Caraboux.
BC Senior Women Staff
Head Coach: Jason Young
Assistant Coach: Pat Fleck
Manager: Cheryl Foreman
Therapist: Jessica Smith
BC Senior Women Roster
Name - position (Club)
Andrea Burk - Wing (Capilano RFC)
Natalie Davis - Scrum Half (Capilano RFC)
Kim Donaldson - Hooker/Prop (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Marlene Donaldson - Prop (Velox Valkyries)
Jess Dovanne - Centre (Velox Valkyries)
Jerusha Dunsmore - Lock (Abbotsford RFC)
Brittany Freitag - Lock (United RFC)
Michele Helmeczi - Fly Half (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Corinne Jacobsen - Prop (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Shannon Kane - Back Row (Velox Valkyries)
Katie Larson - Lock (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Hilary Leith - Prop (Capilano RFC)
Carolyn McEwan - Prop (UBC Thunderbirds)
Alicia Noger - Back Row (Abbotsford RFC)
Cassandra Omoerah - Back Row (Capilano RFC)
Darcy Patterson - Full Back (Capilano RFC)
Maggie Ritchie - Centre (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Samantha Robb - Back Row (Velox Valkyries)
Stevi Schnoor - Fly Half (United RFC)
Julia Sugawara - Scrum Half (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Brittany Waters - Centre (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Emily Young - Wing (Kamloops RFC)
U23 BC Women
The BC Women's Under-23 squad draws half their players from the local universities, featuring five from Simon Fraser University, four from the University of Victoria and one from the University of British Columbia. Meghan Hamm, a standout in the Abbotsford RFC women's rugby program is the lone UBC Thunderbird on the U23 provincial team.
During her Canada West debut in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) competition, Hamm was the first UBC player to earn national rookie of the year honours since the inception of the award in 1999. More recently, Hamm played a key part in Abbotsford's 2011 championship run, where the club were crowned Provincial Division One champions. Hamm will be joined by three of her Canada West all-star opponents in UVic's Jesse Olynyk, Chelsey Minter and Abby Goodwin.
The U23 squad will be coached by Abbotsford RFC's Women's head coach Dave Chambers and BC Rugby Provincial Coach and Development Manager Dave Brown. Chambers has been involved in several age grade provincial and national programs including the Canadian Under-17 men's team in recent years.
BC U23 Women Staff
Coach: Dave Brown
Coach: Dave Chambers
Manager: Laura Foreman
Therapist: Kim Yae
BC U23 Women Roster
Name - position (Club)
Christie Auzins - Full Back (Brit Lions)
Megan Banford - Centre (SFU)
Christina Bordington - Back Row (United RFC)
Christina Burnham - Scrum Half (SFU)
Sarah Byers - Back Row (SFU)
Meagan Chambers - Hooker/Prop (Abbotsford RFC)
Joan Cole - Wing (SFU)
Jenn Davies - Back Row (Bayside Sharks/ UofA)
Sonja Foulds - Hooker/Prop (Abbotsford RFC)
Abbie Goodwin - Lock (Uvic Vikes)
Erin Grant - Centre (SFU)
Megan Hamm - Scrum Half (UBC/ Abbotsford RFC)
Randi Hunter - Prop (Uvic Vikes)
Melissa LeBlanc - Wing (SFU)
Beth McNeil - Fly Half (Capilano RFC)
Chelsey Minter - Prop/Lock (Uvic Vikes)
Kayla Moleschi - Full Back (Williams Lake)
Ceara Mullin - Back Row (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Desiree Noger - Back Row (Abbostford RFC)
Jesse Olynyk - Back Row (Uvic Vikes/ Kamloops RFC)
Hannah Yow - Wing (Velox Valkyries)
U20 BC Women
The 2011 NWL Finals are set to have their first Under-20 competition, an exciting addition to the tournament that indicates the importance of expanding women's high performance rugby at the age grade level.
Leading the BC entry at the tournament are head coaches Steph Murphy and April Jones. Murphy has served as assistant coach for the BC Under-19 Women's program for two years and continues to excel as the head coach of United RFC's women's team. Both Murphy and Jones have coached at the high school level in Coquitlam; Murphy coaching at Port Moody and Jones at Gleneagle Secondary School.
Murphy and Jones have a number of emerging all-stars in their lineup including three players recently selected to represent Canada at the 2011 Under-20 Nations Cup; Demi Stamatakis (Simon Fraser), Tiffany Wideen (Lethbridge Pronghorns) and Paniz Pahlavanlu (United RFC). Cohesion for this squad should not be an issue as the majority of the team's roster played alongside one another in the BC Under-19 program, who captured bronze at the 2011 National Festival in Calgary.
The BC Under-20 team will face off against Manitoba, Ontario Junior Storm and Alberta. Their opening match is scheduled for Thursday, June 30th against Manitoba at Wolfson Fields.
BC U20 Women Staff
Coach: Steph Murphy
Coach: April Jones
Manager: Samantha Allen
Therapist: Lindsay MacLeod
BC U20 Women Roster
Name - position (Club)
Bev Cheng - Wing (UBC)
Emilie Cooper - Lock (Uvic Vikes)
Jen Cousineau - Centre (United RFC)
Shannon Craig - Centre (United RFC)
Lisa Grant - Hooker/Prop (SFU)
Stacey Hake - Lock (Lethbridge Pronghorns)
Nevene Hammoud - Prop (Capilano RFC)
Brit Holness - Wing (UBC)
Casey Jones - Back Row (StFX)
Sagal Kahin - Back Row (UBC)
Sara Kim - Prop (United RFC)
Jozie Kola - Centre (United RFC)
Kylee Larssen - Prop (United RFC)
Devon Luca - Wing (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Karli MacFarlane - Prop (Nanaimo)
Kevenza Murphy - Back Row (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Paniz Pahlavanlu - Back Row (United RFC)
Elyssa Philipson - Scrum Half (Abbotsford RFC)
Cassy Powell - Back Row (United RFC)
Melissa Robinson - Prop (Capilano RFC)
Mia Rushton - Full Back (United RFC)
Demi Stamatakis - Prop (SFU)
Cassy Stevens - Wing (Uvic Vikes)
Andie Temple - Back Row (Bayside Sharks)
Tiffany Wideen - Fly half (Lethbridge Pronghorns)
For more information on the National Women's League finals visit www.nwlrugby.com