VANCOUVER - Head Coach of the British Columbia senior women's provincial team Pat Fleck has announced his traveling roster for the 2012 National Women's League Finals in Quebec City scheduled for June 28th through July 1st at Laval University.
With preparations now underway for the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup to be hosted in France, Canadian players will be looking to prove themselves at this year's NWL, a key scouting ground for Rugby Canada national team selectors. The NWL Finals are the premier domestic competition for women's rugby in Canada, run annually and seen as a vital step on the pathway for aspiring national team players.
Third-seeded British Columbia will open their 2012 campaign against second-seeded Ontario on Thursday, June 28th at 9am PST. The winner will go on to play the loser of top-seeded Alberta against fourth-seeded Quebec on Friday morning.
Unlike in recent years where an opening day loss would result in missing out on the championship final, this year's tier one structure as been altered to give teams another opportunity to rebound from a loss and still play for gold. The winners of Friday's matches will advance to the championship final on Sunday to contest for a national title.
2012 NWL Schedule (EST Times)
June 28, 12:00pm - Game A: Ontario vs British Columbia
June 28, 2:30pm - Game B: Alberta vs Quebec
June 29, 12:00pm - Game C: Winner of 'A' vs Loser of 'B'
June 29, 2:30pm - Game D: Winner of 'B' vs Loser of 'A'
July 1, 10:30am - 3rd/4th playoff: Loser of 'C' vs Loser of 'D'
July 1, 1:00pm 1st/2nd playoff: Winner 'C' vs Winner of 'D'
Tournament website: www.nwlrugby.com
The 2012 BC roster includes four graduates of last year's provincial under-20 program as well as three additions from the under-23 provincial side that went undefeated en route to a Tier Two 2011 national title. Progressing from the U20s are Devon Luca (Burnaby Lake), Sagal Kahin (Meraloma Rugby Club) and United Rugby Club products Jozie Kola and Paniz Pahlavanlu. Former U23 captain Jesse Olynyk (Velox Valkyries) will make the jump to the senior team this year as will Sarah Byers (SFU Rugby) and Christina Burnham (SFU Rugby).
"We have some younger players on the team who have shown they are capable of playing at a high level through their performances during the Premiership [club] season and now they will have the chance to make an impression against the top players in Canada," head coach Pat Fleck said. "Olynyk, Burnham and Byers all played well at the U23 level last year and have continued to impress at the senior camps. Olynyk has already played with the senior provincial team so she's no stranger to this level of competition."
The squad will be balanced with a core of veteran leadership that includes 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup participants Kim Donaldson (Burnaby Lake), Marlene Donaldson (Velox Valkyries), Corinne Jacobsen (Burnaby Lake), Julia Sugawara (Burnaby Lake) and Brittany Waters (Meraloma).
"A number of our forwards form a strong leadership group with experienced players like Marlene in the front row, and we have some proven backs like Julia Sugawara and Brittany Waters who consistently play well when they represent BC," Fleck added. "We will be looking to those players to lead some of our younger players on the field."
Of the 24 selects named to the traveling roster, 13 participated in the Women's Adidas Premiership final this past May which saw the Velox Valkyries edge Burnaby Lake Rugby Club 20-14.
The BC senior women will be looking to improve on their third place finish at the 2011 NWL Finals where they fell 17-16 in the semifinals to eventual champs Alberta, and defeated Quebec 41-20 in the consolation final.
BC results at the NWL Finals: 2011 Third Place; 2010 National Champions; 2009 Runners-up; 2008 National Champions; 2007 National Champions
BC Senior Women - 2012
Name - position (club)
Jocelyn Barrieau - Wing/Scrum Half (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Christina Burnham - Scrum Half (Simon Fraser University)
Sarah Byers - Lock (Simon Fraser University)
Amanda Campbell - Fly Half (Velox Valkyries)
Kim Donaldson - Hooker/Prop (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Marlene Donaldson - Prop (Velox Valyries)
Jessica Dovanne - Wing/Centre (Velox Valkyries)
Sarah Gordon - Fly Half (Bayside Athletic Association)
Corinne Jacobsen - Prop (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Shannon Kane - Back Row (Velox Valkyries)
Sagal-Marie Kahin - Lock (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Jozefina Kola - Centre (United Rugby Club)
Hilary Leith - Prop (Capilano RFC)
Devon Luca - Scrum Half (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Carolyn McEwen -Prop (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Alicia Noger - Lock/Back Row (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Jesse Olynyk - Back Row (Velox Valkyries)
Paniz Pahlavanlu - Back Row/Back (United Rugby Club)
Samantha Robb - Back Row (Velox Valkyries)
Stevi Schnoor - Centre (United Rugby Club)
Julia Sugawara - Fly Half (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Natalie Tam - Wing/Scrum Half (Velox Valkyries)
Brittany Waters - Full Back/Centre (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Emily Young - Wing (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Head Coach - Pat Fleck
Assistant Coach - Rhodri Hanmer
Manager - Chelsey Minter
Athletic Therapist - Monique Charbonneau