LANGFORD, BC – Canada’s Women’s Fifteens Head Coach Francois Ratier has announced his 26-player roster for the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris in August.
The World Cup is the biggest event in International Women’s Fifteens and Canada has appeared in all six tournaments dating back to the inaugural event in Wales in 1991. Canada’s best performances at the World Cup include fourth place finishes in 1998, 2002 and 2006, before dropping to sixth in 2010. Canada also hosted the 12-team event in 2006 in Edmonton.
Captaining Canada in France will be Bolton, Ontario native Kelly Russell, who’s dominant performances in both Fifteens and Sevens have been a pillar of strength for women’s rugby.
“It’s a huge honour to not only represent your country, but to captain this great group of girls at the World Cup,” said Russell.
Along with competing in the 2009 and 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens – including Canada’s best-ever performance last year in Moscow – Russell was part of Canada’s team that finished sixth at the 2010 instalment of the World Cup. The announced roster features other 2010 veterans, including: Kim Donaldson, Mandy Marchak, Barbara Mervin, Julia Sugawara, Brittany Waters and Julianne Zussman.
Canada opened 2014 with a two-game CAN-AM Series against USA on Vancouver Island April 15 and 19. Zussman scored a hat-trick to lead a nine-try performance in the first game at Shawnigan Lake School as Canada defeated their North American rivals 51-7. The series finale at Westhills Stadium and the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence proved to be a closer encounter, but a late try by Elissa Alarie secured a 14-10 victory. Canada took a 48-point aggregate victory to win the CAN-AM Cup.
Canada then travelled to New Zealand in June for a three-game tour to continue preparing against top quality competition. The tour featured one game against Australia and two against the four-time defending World Champion Black Ferns.
Ratier’s side had never faced the Wallaroos, and opened their tour with an emphatic 22-0 victory on June 6 before narrowly falling to the Black Ferns 16-8 and 33-21.
Despite the two losses, facing world-class competition gave Canada an opportunity to challenge some of the best teams in the world ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
In France, Canada has been placed in Pool A with Spain, Samoa and England and will need a strong showing in each of their three pool games in order to advance out of the pool round.
Against Spain Canada holds a 2-0 record with victories at the 1991 and 2006 World Cups, while Samoa will be an unknown challenger on August 5, as the two teams have never faced in international competition.
Canada’s final game of the Pool Round on Saturday, August 9 against 2010 World Cup runner-ups England will undoubtedly be an exciting contest between two skilled sides.
To continue preparing for their first game on August 1, Canada will gather for a week training camp in Concarneau, France before getting into Marcoussis on July 28th and opening the tournament against Spain.
Make sure to follow Rugby Canada on Social Media for up-to-the-minute information.
Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup Roster:
Elissa Alarie, (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Emily Belchos, (Markham Irish RFC) Barrie, ON
Brittany Benn, (Guelph Redcoats) Napanee, ON
Stephanie Bernier, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, Quebec
Tyson Beukeboom, (Aurora Barbarians) Uxbridge, Ontario
Latoya Blackwood, (St. Anne de Bellevue) Montreal, QC
Andrea Burk, (Capilano RFC) North Vancouver, BC
Olivia DeMerchant, (Woodstock Wildmen) Mapledale, NB
Kim Donaldson, (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club) Toronto, ON
Jessica Dovanne, (Velox RFC) Victoria, BC
Magali Harvey, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Mary-Jane Kirby, (Highland RFC) Brampton, ON
Hilary Leith, (Capilano RFC) Vancouver, BC
Kayla Mack, (Wild Oats RFC) Saskatoon, SK
Mandy Marchak, (Capilano RFC) Winnipeg, MB
Barbara Mervin, (Velox RFC) Peterborough, ON
Jacey Murphy, (Aurora Barbarians) Alliston, ON
Karen Paquin, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Kelly Russell, Captain (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Laura Russell, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Maria Samson, (Calgary Hornets) Calgary, AB
Julia Sugawara, (Burnaby Lake RFC) Surrey, BC
Amanda Thornborough, (Brandon Barbarians RFC) Brandon, MB
Brittany Waters, (Meraloma Athletic Club) Vancouver, BC
Julianne Zussman, (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
Canada’s Women’s 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
Analyst: James Kent
Media Manager: Bryan Kelly
RUGBY CANADA WOMEN’S FIFTEENS 2014 FIXTURES
CANADA 51 – 7 USA
April 15, 2014
Shawnigan Lake School, Mill Bay, BC
CANADA 14 – 10 USA
April 19, 2014
Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
CANADA 22-0 AUSTRALIA
June 6, 2014
Tauranga Domain, Tauranga, New Zealand
CANADA 8-16 NEW ZEALAND
June 10, 2014
Tauranga Domain, Tauranga, New Zealand
CANADA 21 – 33 NEW ZEALAND
June 14, 2014
Rugby Park, Whakatane, New Zealand
WOMEN’S RWC – CANADA VS SPAIN
August 1, 2014
Kickoff 3pm local (10am ET/7am PT)
WOMEN’S RWC – CANADA VS SAMOA
August 5, 2014
Kickoff 5pm local (12pm ET/9am PT)
WOMEN’S RWC – CANADA VS ENGLAND
August 9, 2014
Kickoff 3:45pm local (10:45am ET/7:45am PT)
WOMEN’S RWC SEMI-FINALS
August 13, 2014
WOMEN’S RWC FINALS
August 17, 2014