Pictured: Hilary Leith
LANGFORD, BC - Canada’s Women’s XVs head coach Francois Ratier has announced his 26-player roster for the upcoming Nations Cup in Denver, Colorado. The four team event, held at USA Rugby’s Infinity Park, will be Ratier’s first competition at the helm of the National Women’s Team ahead of next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in France.
“I’m very excited for my first chance to coach Canada. It’s been nearly two years since [Canada’s] last competition and I think the entire team and coaching staff is excited to compete,” said Francois from Quebec.
“The Nations Cup is important for us because it’s the first step and it’s a good opportunity for the staff to see 26-players for the first time in an international competition and to see where we’re at as a group.”
Canada will compete in a round-robin style event against USA, South Africa and England in the Mile High City. Gary Dukelow and Colette McAuley will assist Ratier as respective forwards and backs coaches, while Canada Women’s Sevens head coach, John Tait is the team’s technical advisor.
The team will meet in Denver in the final week of July and will return home on August 12.
“We will have two days to prepare for our first game against England, who are the best team in the world right now,” said Ratier. “We’re excited for this challenge and we’re going to give them everything we’ve got.”
Building Towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup
This summer’s Nations Cup is the beginning of a 12-month campaign for Canada, as they look to peak at next summer’s WRWC in France. Following the Nations Cup tournament, Canada will take a squad to Europe for a likely three-game International November Tour. Ratier’s side will also compete in a Can-American competition and New Zealand tour in 2014 ahead of the pinnacle WRWC event in August.
With plenty of fixtures in the pipeline for Canada, Ratier’s goal is to build not only a strong 26-player roster, but a large talent pool for the RWC.
“The 26-players we have in this summer’s roster will change for November depending on injuries, performance and availability of players,” said Ratier.
“The message is clear with our group of players: we want to see 50 players in the next 12-months and we are going to use these competitions to compete and win; we’re not going for just the experience, we want to win.”
Canada Sevens Influence
Six members of the announced squad – Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, Bianca Farella, Magali Harvey, Karen Paquin, Brittany Waters (non-travelling reserves) and Kelly Russell – recently captured the silver medal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Russia as starting-12 members of Canada Women’s Sevens Team.
While Elissa Alarie, Andrea Burk, Jessica Dovanne, Megan Gibbs, Cheryl Phillips and Amanda Thornborough were also regular features on the sevens squad this season.
“Our sevens players are physically and mentally ready because they’re still in game shape from Moscow and they’re ready to go in fifteens as well. I think the impact will be positive,” said Ratier.
Canada’s Roster for Nations Cup – Name, (Club Team) Hometown
Elissa Alarie, (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Caitlin Beaton, (Fergus Highland RFC) Clavering, ON
Stephanie Bernier, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec
Tyson Beukeboom, (Aurora Barbarians) Uxbridge, Ontario
Latoya Blackwood, (St. Anne de Bellevue) Montreal, QC
Andrea Burk, (Capilano RFC) North Vancouver, BC
Kim Donaldson, (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club) Toronto, ON
Jessica Dovanne, (Velox RFC) Victoria, BC
Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Bianca Farella, (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
Megan Gibbs, (Markham Irish RFC) Barrie, ON
Magali Harvey, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Mary-Jane Kirby, (Highland RFC) Brampton, ON
Hilary Leith, (Saracens/Capilano RFC) British Columbia
Kayla Mack, (Wild Oats RFC) Saskatoon, SK
Katie McNally, (Guelph RFC) Guelph, ON
Jacey Murphy, (Aurora Barbarians) ON
Karen Paquin, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Claragh Pegg, (Kingston Panthers RFC) Barrie, ON
Cheryl Phillips, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Scarborough, ON
Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Laura Russell, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Kelly Russell, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Maria (Jaworski) Samson, (Calgary Hornets) Calgary, AB
Julia Sugawara, (Burnaby Lake RFC), Surrey, BC
Amanda Thornborough, (Brandon Barbarians RFC) Brandon, MB
Asya Bartley, (Barrhaven Scottish RFC) Ottawa, ON
Olivia DeMerchant, (Woodstock Wildmen) Mapledale, NB
Megan Lowry, (Aurora Barbarians RFC) Shanty Bay, ON
Brittany Orr, Alberta
Jackie Tittley, Quebec
Brittany Waters, (Meraloma Athletic Club) Vancouver, BC
Rugby Canada Summer Team Staff
Head Coach: Francois Ratier
Forwards Coach: Gary Dukelow
Backs Coach: Colette McAuley
Technical Advisor: John Tait
Strength and Conditioning: Steve Mackinnon
Physiotherapist: Adrienne Stinson
Manager: Meaghan Howat