VANCOUVER, BC - Head Coach of the British Columbia Under-20 women's provincial program Steph Murphy today announced her roster of 25 players for the upcoming National Women's League Finals in Vancouver. The tournament is set for June 27-30 at UBC's Wolfson Fields and will feature U20, Senior (Tier 2) and Premier divisions at the 2013 edition of Rugby Canada's top level domestic competition for women's rugby.
During the most recent U20 competition held in Vancouver in 2011, BC fell agonizingly short in a crucial 17-15 loss to eventual champions Ontario and ended up placing third overall.
BC will open their campaign with a 10:00am morning tilt against Ontario on Thursday June 27th. BC will then play two 20-minute games on Saturday, June 29th that will be used for development purposes and won't count towards the final standings. The hosts will then wrap up their tournament with a final game against Alberta on Sunday, June 30th at 9:30am.
"Our goal for this team will be to come out on June 27th as competitors and show on field what we have been training towards," said Murphy. "We will need to adapt to both 80 minute and 20 minute games and still keep our focus and mindset with two very different game styles."
Murphy and Assistant Coach April Quinto held three open trials to select the team and followed them up with two weekend camps. Having joint practices with the senior women's program as well as running sessions with just the U20 squad over the last few weeks has the players looking sharp ahead of Nationals according to Murphy.
"The girls participated in some pretty rigorous fitness testing as well as a series of skills and evaluations alongside the Senior Women. In our own sessions, we have really focused on increasing and developing a unified skill set moving into the tournament," Murphy said.
This year's U20 competition will allow for overage (U23) players and Murphy is expecting strong performances from familiar names like Elyssa Phillipson and Jen Cousineau in the back line as well as Meagan Chambers and Casey Jones in the forwards.
Key players to also watch include Kayla Van Veld, Shantel Hightower and Renae Desrochers who will be anchoring the scrum.
"We also have Caitie Ryan, Meghan Wellis, Annie Arnott and Rachel Craig - backs who are dynamic and speedy but they are all strong at the contact point and we will look to them to create opportunities for turnover ball," Murphy added.
The U20 competition gets underway on Thursday, June 27 at 10:00am with BC scrumming down against Ontario. BC's senior women are set for a 1:30pm kickoff against Alberta with all games to be staged at UBC's Wolfson Fields.
For more information on the NWL Finals visit the tournament website at www.nwlrugby.com
BC U20 Schedule:
Thurs. June 27, 10:00am: BC vs Ontario
*Sat. June 29, 9:45am: BC vs Ontario
*Sat. June 29, 10:30am: BC vs Alberta
Sun. June 30, 9:30am: BC vs Alberta
*Denotes non-competition 20 minute games
BC U20 Roster for NWL:
Annie Arnott (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Dana Beirnes (Comox Kickers RFC)
Brittany Brabant (Capilano RFC)
Meagan Chambers* (Abbotsford RFC)
Hsiang Chou (McGill University)
Cheyenne Conrad (Capilano RFC)
Rachel Craig (Bayside AA)
Shannon Craig* (United Rugby Club)
Jennifer Cousineau* (United Rugby Club / University of Alberta)
Angela Davies (Cowichan Rugby Club)
Renae Desrochers (Kamloops Rugby Club)
Mackenzie Fawcett (United Rugby Club)
Amanda Foster (Simon Fraser University)
Shantel Hightower (Simon Fraser University)
Casey Jones* (St. Fx)
Nicola Jones (Acadia University)
Natasha Lalonde* (Simon Fraser University)
Sarah Lepine (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Stephanie MacKinnon (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Elyssa Phillipson* (Abbotsford RFC)
Shaylene Patterson (Abbotsford RFC)
Caitie Ryan (Kamloops Rugby Club)
Elizabeth Theemes-Golding (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Kayla Van Veld (Abbotsford RFC)
Meghan Wellis (Bayside AA)
*Denotes U23 players
Head Coach - Steph Murphy
Assistant Coach - April Quinto
Manager - Roko Kapaiwai
Athletic Therapist - Lindsay McLeod