Original Article – Rugby Canada
Auckland, NZ – November 19, 2020: Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team have been drawn into Pool B following the Rugby World Cup 2021 Draw today in Auckland, New Zealand. Joining Canada in Pool B will be USA and qualifiers to be determined from Europe 1 and Asia 1. The Draw, held in Auckland, was streamed live around the world and featured several special guests including New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
The Canadian Women are currently ranked #3 in the world following an impressive 2019 test schedule that included strong performances in the Women’s Rugby Super Series and a two-game Can-Am series against the USA Eagles. USA are currently ranked #6 in the world.
Canada have an impressive record at the Rugby World Cup (RWC). Most recently at RWC 2017 in Ireland, Canada finished in 5th place. At RWC 2014, Canada took the rugby world by storm defeating France in the semi-finals in Paris and reaching the RWC Final eventually losing a tightly contested match against England to finish in 2nd place. Canada’s Women’s team are one of four teams to have participated in every RWC since 1991 and have played the most matches in RWC history with 39.
The full squad have yet to assemble in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, players are training across the country and head coach Sandro Fiorino has over 20 athletes at his disposal playing professional rugby overseas along with several members of Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team competing for spots on the RWC roster.
“It’s a very positive sign for women’s rugby in Canada to see so many of our players performing at such high levels in professional leagues around the world,” said Fiorino.
“Domestically, with a country as large as Canada the pandemic is making it challenging to train as a full squad but we have pockets of players across the country training extremely hard and we’re in close contact with each of them. Add to this the strength of our senior women’s sevens program and several veteran players from the 2014 and 2017 Rugby World Cups all competing for roster spots. We’re confident that we will assemble a very strong squad to represent Canada next year in New Zealand.”
One of those experienced players from RWC 2017 is Elissa Alarie, who joined the World Rugby virtual panel coverage of the Draw. Alarie, a current member of the Sevens squad, made her international debut in 2013 and represented Canada in both the 2014 and 2017 Rugby World Cups. Originally from Quebec, Alarie plays for Westshore RFC in Victoria, and has represented BC in provincial competition most recently in the 2019 Best of the West series against the Prairie Wolf Pack.
“We’ve been drawn into an exciting pool with our traditional North American rivals USA and we’re up for the challenge. The stage is set for a competitive Rugby World Cup and can’t wait to play against the best teams in the world,” said Alarie. “We’re really looking forward to assembling whenever it’s safe to do so and continue our preparations for the Rugby World Cup.”
Canadian talent is well represented in professional leagues across the world such as the Premier 15s in England, Elite 1 in France and top tiers in New Zealand. Canadian women’s players with professional contracts include:
- Emmanuela Jada, Guelph, ON, Lons Rugby Feminin Bearn Pyrenees (France)
- Sarah-Maude Lachance, Victoriaville, QC, Lons Rugby Feminin Bearn Pyrenees (France)
- Fabiola Forteza, Quebec City, QC, Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais (France)
- Justine Pelletier, Rivière-du-Loup, QC, Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais (France)
- Alexandra Tessier, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC, Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais (France)
- Marie Thibault, Quebec City, QC, Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais (France)
- Marie-Pier Fauteux, Sherbrooke, QC, Stade Rennais Rugby (France)
- Ngalula Fuamba, Notre Dame-de-l’il-Perrot, QC, Stade Rennais Rugby (France)
- Sabrina Poulin, St-Georges de Beauce, QC, Stade Rennais Rugby (France)
- Taylor Black, Oakville, ON, Exeter Chiefs (England)
- Olivia DeMerchant, Mapledale, NB, Exeter Chiefs (England)
- McKinley Hunt, King City, ON, Exeter Chiefs (England)
- Emily Tuttosi, Souris, MB, Exeter Chiefs (England)
- Abby Duguid, Edmonton, AB, Loughborough Lightning (England)
- Countney Holtkamp, Rimbey, AB, Loughborough Lightning (England)
- DaLeaka Menin, Vulcan, AB, Loughborough Lightning (England)
- Sara Svoboda, Belleville, ON, Loughborough Lightning (England)
- Sophie de Goede, Victoria, BC, Saracens (England)
- Alexandria Ellis, Ottawa, ON, Saracens (England)
- Paige Farries, Red Deer, AB, Worcester Warriors (England)
- Cindy Nelles, Belleville, ON, Canterbury Rugby Football Union (New Zealand)
Rugby World Cup 2021 is scheduled to be held from September 18 to October 16, 2021 in Auckland and Whangārei in New Zealand. For more information on RWC 2021 please visit: www.rugbyworldcup.com/2021