With fifth place on the line at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Ireland, Canada’s Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has made three changes to the starting lineup that will face Australia in the fifth place play-off Saturday (12pm ET/9am PT) at Queen’s University.
Sticking with a similar lineup that earned Canada a 52-0 victory over Wales in the semifinals, Ratier’s side will see Magali Harvey re-enter the lineup after she was unavailable for selection against the Welsh due to injury. Harvey will slot in on the right wing in replacement of Frederique Rajotte, with Elissa Alarie on the left wing.
DaLeaka Menin returns to the starting roster and will be joined by front-rowers Carolyn McEwen and Laura Russell, who have started all five WRWC matches.
Cindy Nelles will get the call in the second row for the second time in as many games, teaming up with Latoya Blackwood, who was named the Woman of the Match against Wales.
As has been the case throughout the entire tournament, Jacey Grusnick, Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell will form the back row.
Brianna Miller, who was a late addition to the starting lineup against Wales due to an injury to Lori Josephson, will return at scrumhalf after she put up 15 points, including a try and five conversions in the semifinal.
For the first time at the World Cup there has been a switch at flyhalf, as Alex Tessier gets the nod at number 10, with Emily Belchos and Amanda Thornborough in the centre positions.
Julianne Zussman remains at fullback, and will be joined by the familiar winger duo of Harvey and Alarie.
Canada will be looking to finish the WRWC on a winning note, with a victory securing a 4-1 record. This will be the first ever meeting between Canada and Australia in the WRWC.
The two teams met earlier this year in the International Women’s Rugby Series in New Zealand, with Canada earning a 45-5 victory.
Canada has been in the fifth-place bracket four times at the World Cup, finishing fifth in 1991 and sixth in both 1994 and 2010.
Kick-off between Canada and Australia is set for 12pm ET/9am PT on Saturday and you can watch live on TSN/RDS.
What Carolyn McEwen said:
“Against Wales, we were a lot more physical in contact. We’re expecting a physical game against Australia too, so we’re looking to really build off our game against Wales and really take that physicality to the next level. We’re definitely here to go for the win and really bring this team together. We really want to show at this point what we can do as a tea, because we really believe in what we can put on the field.”
What Assistant Coach Shaun Allen said:
“We were happy with the performance against Wales, getting back to a performance where we can score a lot of points and where our defence and set pieces can be solid. We’re in a pretty good spot and hopefully we’re going to end on a high.
“Just from (Australia’s) performance at the World Cup, we’ve seen massive improvements in what they have been able to do since the New Zealand series. They’re very physical and very direct in terms of what they do on the attack. It’s going to be a good test for our defence and our ability to tackle them. They have some weapons around the field and we’re going to have to do a good job of identifying them and shutting them down.”
Canada’s Roster to face Australia:
1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
4. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
5. Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)
6. Jacey Grusnick, Barrhaven Scottish (Alliston, ON)
7. Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers (Quebec City, QC)
8. Kelly Russell, Captain, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
9. Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC)
10. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
11. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
12. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
13. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
14. Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby de Quebec (Quebec City, QC)
15. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
19. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Strathcona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)
2017 WRWC Staff:
Francois Ratier- Head Coach
Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach
Gary Dukelow – Assistant Coach
Colette McAuley- Technical Support
Nicole Crowley- Manager
Shannon Houston – Team Doctor
Brad Curry – Physiotherapist
Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist
James Kent- Analyst
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager
Canada’s 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:
Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park (Dublin)
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park (Dublin)
Canada 5 New Zealand 48 – Billings Park (Dublin)
5th Place Semifinal
Canada 52 Wales 0 – Queen’s University (Belfast)
5th Place Play-Off
Canada vs. Australia – Aug 26 – 12pm ET/9am PT – Queen’s University (Belfast)
Submitted by Mark Janzen - Rugby Canada