With Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
January 15, 2015, LANGFORD, B.C. – The world is set to descend upon Langford, B.C. in April 2015 where twelve nations will battle to qualify for the women’s rugby sevens event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As the newest stop on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series tour, Rugby Canada has been chosen to play host to the world’s best as an annual stop on the international tour. The inaugural event will be hosted in Langford, B.C. at Westhills Stadium and the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence April 18-19, 2015.
Rugby Canada’s Gareth Rees (centre) is joined by National Team members (L to R) Jen Kish, Ashley Steacy, Magali Harvey and Kelly Russell during Thursday’s announcement of the International Sevens Series coming to Victoria in April (2015)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The announcement was made Thursday afternoon at Westhills Stadium by Rugby Canada’ Gareth Rees, who was flanked by National team members Kelly Russell, Ashley Steacy, Magali Harvey and Jen Kish. Other members of the Women’s National Team were also on hand.
Joining the National Team as well, were members of the Esquimalt and Belmont High School Girl’s Rugby teams, who enjoyed participating in a brief clinic with National Team members prior to the announcement.
During a brief clinic held prior to the press conference Thursday, Esquimalt High’s Kaitlin Cain practices here tosses under the watchful eye of National Team member Kayla Mack (right)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
National Team member Paige Farries provides a pep talk to girls from Esquimalt and Belmont High Schools during a rugby clinic held Thursday at Westhills Stadium (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Esquimalt and Belmont players were put through a few quick drills and warm-up activities under the guidance of National Team members and then broke into teams for a pair of short touch-rugby games.
By the looks of the smiles on their faces, all the future National Team “wannabes” enjoyed learning from the Country’s and the World’s best.
Emily Parker of Esquimalt High is all smiles as she evades National Team members Nadia Popov (left) and Jen Kish (right) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Claire Church of Belmont High looks for someone to lateral to during the clinic with the Women’s National team on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“The journey to the Olympic Games is a true test of our grit, determination and dedication to excellence. We are so lucky and grateful to have the chance to bring that journey to home soil,” said Magali Harvey, 2014 World Rugby Female Player of the Year. “To play in front of a home crowd, and feel the support of Canadian rugby fans will give us the boost we need to make our dreams a reality as we fight for our ticket to Rio.”
The World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series consists of six international tournaments including Dubai, Brazil, USA, Canada, England and the Netherlands. The 2014-15 campaign serves as the qualifying process for the 2016 Olympic Games, with the top four teams on the tour securing an Olympic berth.
Team Canada Women’s Sevens members (L to R) Jen Kish, Magali Harvey, Ashley Steacy and Kelly Russell are ready to welcome the world to Victoria and Westhills Stadium in April for the World Rugby Sevens Series International Tour. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“World Rugby is delighted to have Canada host a round of the Women’s Sevens Series. Rugby in Canada is growing very quickly and the incredible progress of the women’s game was highlighted by the remarkable achievement of Canada at last year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in France,” added Brett Gosper, CEO, World Rugby.
“I have no doubt that the event in Langford in April will be a great success and will add to the growth of the game in the region. The inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the Olympic Games has seen global interest in the game increasing, as well as tough competition between teams as they battle to become the first teams to qualify for Rio 2016.”
Canada is currently ranked third in the world, with consistent third-place finishes in the Women’s Sevens Series for the past two seasons.
Jen Kish has been playing for Canada for over 10 years and is the current captain of the Women’s Sevens squad. She is looking forward to the Sevens Series Tour in April and a chance to qualify for the Olympics in Rio in 2016 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“This season is all about qualifying for the Olympics and the program’s primary goal will be to take one of those top 4 qualifying spots,” said national women’s sevens team head coach, John Tait. The team kicked off the 2014-15 series with a third place finish at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in December, 2014, and is set to depart for Brazil to compete in Sao Paolo February 7-8, 2015.
“We’re thrilled to be welcoming the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series to Langford and the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence as part of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic qualifying year,” said Graham Brown, CEO of Rugby Canada. “Canada’s Women’s Rugby Program, in both sevens and fifteens, has seen some incredible results over the last few years and there’s been huge support and excitement around the sport from coast to coast.”
Members of the Women’s National Team and of the Belmont and Esquimalt High School Girl’s Rugby Teams were all on hand Thursday to help welcome the International Sevens Tour to Victoria (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Rugby Sevens combines the explosive power, skill and excitement of traditional rugby with a dynamic, fast-paced game featuring seven players a-side, with each match lasting just fourteen minutes. The two-day Canada Sevens event also features a unique party atmosphere with family-friendly entertainment as the world’s best compete in a round-robin style tournament.
Canada Sevens tournament tickets are now on sale at http://www.canadasevens.com
2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Dates (worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series/)
ROUND 1 Dubai The Sevens, Dubai December 4-5, 2014
ROUND 2 Brazil Arena Barueri, São Paulo February 7-8, 2015
ROUND 3 USA Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, Georgia March 14-15, 2015
ROUND 4 Canada Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC April 18-19, 2015
ROUND 5 England Twickenham Stoop & Stadium, London May 15-16, 2015
ROUND 6 Netherlands NRCA Stadium, Amsterdam May 22-23, 2015
Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team – Name, (Club) Hometown
Elissa Alarie – (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Emily Belchos – (Markham Irish RFC) Barrie, ON
Caroline Crossley – (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
Hannah Darling – (Peterborough Pagans) Warsaw, ON
Arielle Dubissette-Borrice – (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Chanelle Edwards-Challenger – (Calgary Rams) Calgary, AB
Bianca Farella – (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
Paige Farries – (Druid RFC) Red Deer, AB
Julia Greenshields – (Sarnia Saints) Sarnia, ON
Magali Harvey – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Sara Kaljuvee – (Toronto Scottish RFC) Pickering, ON
Jennifer Kish – (Edmonton Rockers RFC) Edmonton, AB
Ghislaine Landry – (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Kayla Mack – (Wild Oats RFC) Saskatoon, SK
Mandy Marchak – (Capilano RFC) Winnipeg, MB
Kayla Moleschi – (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC
Karen Paquin – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Nadia Popov (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON
Kelly Russell – (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Ashley Steacy – (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB
Natasha Watcham-Roy – (University of Ottawa) Gatineau, QC
Charity Williams – (Markham Irish) Toronto, ON
Head Coach – John Tait
Assistant Coach – Sandro Fiorino
Manager – Meaghan Howat
Analyst – Callum Morris
Athletic Therapist – Sandeep Nandhra
Sport Psychologist – Kirsten Barnes
Strength and Conditioning – Dana Agar-Newman & Tyler Goodale
ABOUT RUGBY CANADA:
Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada. Rugby Football has a long history in Canada dating back to its initial appearance in the 1860s. Since 1974, Rugby Canada has been a permanent fixture on the global rugby scene, including trips to each of the seven IRB Men’s Rugby World Cups and seven IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup. As a regular on the World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens World Series, Canada continues to climb the world rankings and challenge the dominant rugby nations in both versions of the game.
To support the growth of rugby at the grass-roots level and to ensure there are elite programs for prospering young rugby players to become involved, Rugby Canada has put an emphasis on developing its junior programs. Our goal is to develop and train competitive teams for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
ABOUT CANADA WOMEN’S SEVENS:
Westhills Stadium, the home of Canadian Rugby in Langford, British Columbia, will welcome the world’s top 12 women’s teams for two days of fast-paced, exciting sevens rugby on April 18-19, 2015. Day one will see the 12 teams separated into three pools of four for round-robin play, with the second day featuring Cup, 3rd/4th, Plate and Bowl competitions based on the first day’s results.
ABOUT THE WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES:
The World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series is entering its third year and Canada has maintained a steady position of third place over the last two seasons. With the 2014-15 campaign acting as a direct qualifier for the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in 2016, Coach John Tait’s team will look to build off their previous third places finishes in the last two WSWS seasons.
The top four finishers from the five-event season will directly qualify, while the remaining teams will be separated into their respective regions to try and book their ticket to Brazil. If Canada does not finish in the top four they will compete as part of the NACRA region at an event next summer in a location to be announced.