June 26,2014(ISN) – On August 1st, Rugby Canada’s National Senior Women’s Team will kickoff their participation in the seventh edition of the IRB Women’s World Cup in France.
The history of this event has largely been the story of the rugby world’s traditional powerhouses. Since the IRB officially endorsed the tournament in 1998 the New Zealand Black Ferns have won four straight World Championships, their last victory coming in a 13 – 0 win over England at the 2010 tournament in London.
England too have been one of the competition’s perennial giants. After a third place finish in 1998, the English women have played in three straight World Cup Finals, losing to New Zealand in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Australia, who have traditionally been stronger in the Sevens game, climbed to a best-ever third place finish in 2010, at the expense of France, a country currently maintaining a streak of three consecutive top-four finishes.
Canada can also boast an admirable streak of playoff appearances at the Women’s World Cup; finishing fourth in 1998, 2002 and 2006, before dropping sixth place finish in the 2010 event.
But the past four years have seen a quantum leap in the women’s game in this country. Many of Canada’s fifteens players now train full-time at this country’s Centre of Excellence in Langford, British Columbia and have access to coaching and resources undreamed of by past generations of female players.
One player who can speak passionately about what the opportunity to play at a World Cup means to Canadian women is former British Columbia Captain and Canada tight-head prop Marlene Donaldson. Donaldson, who is currently helping Canada men’s legend Al Charon as an Alumni Coordinator, has fond memories of her own World Cup experience in 2010 and high hopes for this year’s Canadian team.
“The day I received my selection letter, I literally cried. The reality is my journey to making that team had not been easy and the selection letter recognized the hard work and right choices I had made to make the World Cup Squad. Once you are at World Cup you realize the stakes are higher. You have an opportunity to change the face of rugby in your country.
Moving from 4th place to a World Cup final is a game changer and on the NSWT’s recent tour to New Zealand they have proven this is within their reach. Knowing you have made it among the best in the world is an awesome accomplishment and being at World Cup you are reminded of this each day. The best part really though is being to able to share the highs and lows with the RED NATION family you privileged to be connected with.”
Donaldson has a kindred spirit in current Canada fullback Elissa Alarie. Alarie was one of many Canadians who enjoyed a highly successful tour against Australia and New Zealand recently, and she is anxious for her Canadian team to be able to show its skills on the world stage.
“This past year leading to World Cup has been great for our program. We have defeated four teams in test matches that finished ahead of us at the last World Cup. We also narrowed the gap with the current World Champions, the Black Ferns. Every opportunity we had to come together as a team saw us grow on and off the field. I can’t wait to step on the field with my teammates in August.”
Alarie and her Canada teammates will have the opportunity to do just that when they open their World Cup campaign against Spain on August 1st.
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 VS NEW ZEALAND 33
June 14, 2014
Rugby Park, Whakatane, New Zealand
Kickoff at 2:30 p.m. local time (Friday June 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT)
WOMEN’S RWC POOL GAME #1
August 1, 2014
WOMEN’S RWC POOL GAME #2
August 5, 2014
WOMEN’S RWC POOL GAME #3
August 9, 2014
WOMEN’S RWC SEMI-FINALS
August 13, 2014
WOMEN’S RWC FINALS
August 17, 2014