Canadian women’s rugby 7s team announced

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Michel Belanger

May 3, 2013, Ottawa, ON (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport, in conjunction with Rugby Canada, announced Friday the 12 student-athletes and four staff members who will represent Canada in women’s rugby sevens at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia.

Women’s rugby sevens will make its Universiade debut in Kazan, with the inaugural tournament set for July 14 to 17.

Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en

Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/summer/2013

Canada has enjoyed success in the sport at the FISU world university championship, a biennial competition which started in 2004. The Canadian women won the first two tourneys in 2004 (Beijing, China) and 2006 (Rome, Italy), before finishing second in 2008 (Cordoba, Spain), fourth in 2010 (Porto, Portugal) and sixth in 2012 (Brive, France).

“This is a first for rugby to have been invited to compete at the Universiade and it is exciting to have that opportunity to be part of the ‘Student Olympics’. I am honoured to have been selected to coach this team,” said Canadian head coach Matt Parrish from the University of Alberta, who was an assistant coach with the FISU championship team in 2004 and the silver medal-winning squad in 2008.

“We had a list of close to 30 student-athletes at the start of the process and although I am obviously delighted at the quality of players we had to choose from, it made selection very tough. I am pleased that we have representation from the four CIS regional associations and have three players of the year in Chelsea Guthrie, Karla Telidetzki and Brianna Miller.”

Guthrie, a scrum half from Edmonton who plays for Parrish at the U of A, was named Canada West MVP at the end of the last CIS season. Miller, a fly half from Pointe-Claire, Que., was the RSEQ player of the year for McGill, while Telidetzki, a native of Edmonton who plays wing for Toronto, was voted MVP of the OUA East division.

Rounding out the all-CIS roster heading to Kazan are McGill prop Caroline Suchorski, Saint Mary’s prop Jean Baker, Victoria scrum half Kehla Guimond, Laval hooker Kathleen Keller, York hooker Tiera Thomas-Reynolds, Guelph centre Shannon Spurrell, Ottawa centre Natasha Watcham-Roy, as well as prop Jess Harvey and wing Natasha Smith, both from Carleton.

Five team members have FISU championship experience, including Guthrie, Telidetzki, Baker and Thomas-Reynolds in 2012 and Watcham-Roy in 2010.

Telidetzki and Harvey represented Canada at the NACRA Sevens in 2011, while Suchorski wore the Maple Leaf at the Las Vegas Invitational in February.

“With this many players having international experience, we will definitely be aiming for a podium finish,” said Parrish, who was born in Newcastle, England, and now calls Sherwood Park, Alta., home.

In addition to Parrish, the support staff is comprised of assistant coach Joe Costello from York, team leader Meaghan Howat from Rugby Canada, and therapist Caitlin McCuaig.

In Kazan, Canada will compete in the preliminary round in Pool A against tournament host Russia (July 14), Japan (July 14), France (July 15) and Ukraine (July 15). France claimed FISU silver on home turf in 2012.

Reigning FISU champion Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, the United States and China will battle in Pool B.

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