July 10,2014(ISN)- Mandy Marchak has dedicated her entire life to rugby. As member of both of Canada’s Women’s National sevens and fifteens programs for the past ten years, she will play in her third fifteens World Cup this summer when the team travels to France in August.
It is her pure love for the game that keeps her focused and she has vowed to never let anything hold her back. She recently suffered what most would call a setback in an athlete’s career, but Marchak didn’t let that stop her from making the 2014 World Cup Team.
“I have given my life to this sport and I have never let anything hold me back” she explained.
“No matter the situation; most recently I had shoulder surgery. I overcame that by showing up every day and doing what I had to do to achieve the small victories so I could get better and be back on the field as soon as possible.”
Marchak showed her persistence and determination throughout her recovery. Although she was unable to participate in many of the fifteen’s events over the past year including Nation’s cup last August, she showed up in New Zealand ready to play. After returning from the three-game series, she is now more confident and focused than ever.
“Because I am a part of the sevens program and due to the time I had to take to recover from surgery, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to train with team prior to the New Zealand tour,” said the Winnipeg native.
“I felt like I had a lot to learn and I needed to prove to the team that I have something to add to our game.”
As a veteran Marchak has experienced the stress and pressure leading up to a World Cup tournament before, but she feels strongly about the team this year and is confident in their ability to compete with the top teams in the world.
“New Zealand helped show us that we can compete with the best. We have narrowed the gap and doing that a month before the world cup proves we are going into this tournament strong,” Marchak discussed.
“We are a tight knit group and we are only getting better.”
Although this is not Marchak’s first World Cup, she does not take the honour of being selected for this team for granted. She understands her role on the team as a veteran and hopes this team can come together and make history this year.
“To play for my country is beyond me or anyone. It’s Canada, it’s all those people and heroes who have fought for our country in the past,” Marchak emotionally described.
“To be one of those people who get to wear that maple leaf on your chest and play for your country, it is an emotion I can’t explain. It is an honour to wear that jersey and represent your country.”
The team has just over a week before they fly out and Marchak is feeling confident in her team-mates. She only has positive feelings leading up to the tournament that begins on August first.
“With the group of athletes we have, I honestly think we have the team that will bring home the World Cup,” she exclaimed.
“We are going to win a World Cup together!”
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