NadiaPopov IAN Muir photo
(ISN) – Langford, BC – Canada’s Women’s Sevens head coach John Tait has announced his roster for the fourth round of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series taking place at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC April 18-19.
This is the first time that a women’s sevens series event will take place in Canada.
Coming off their third straight third-place finish of the season, Canada sits tied for second with Australia in the overall standings with 48 points, 12 points behind series leaders New Zealand. The top four teams at the end of the season will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Tait has made three changes to the lineup that finished third in Atlanta last month at the season’s midway point. Hannah Darling, Sara Kaljuvee and Nadia Popov replace injured captain Jen Kish, Julia Greenshields and Mandy Marchak.
All three players joining the team for this leg were with Canada’s Maple Leafs Team at the Hong Kong Sevens in late March. Darling and Popov were last with the women’s team in Sao Paulo in February and Kaljuvee returns from injury and will be making her season debut after captaining the side in Hong Kong.
“It made selection quite difficult as quite a few players are setting new standards for themselves and it would be great to be able to reward them all with a series selection,” said Tait. “In the end we went with the 12 we believe will give us an opportunity to win in Langford as well as grow our depth of experienced players.”
Tait is also aware that this weekend’s event on home soil is unique in what it means to the players, but he did not want to let that cloud his judgment when selecting his team.
Sara Kaljuvee Ian Muir Photo
“I know it’s especially tough to miss out on this one but we can’t let that affect our selections,” said Tait. “I demand consistency from players and so I need to be consistent in what I am doing as well and that applies to selections. I base them always on form and selecting those who will give us the best chance to win both now and in Rio next year. We will continue to look for players and try new combinations until we are winning cups consistently. We are not here for or happy with finishing third, we want that medal to be gold.”
The injury to Kish is a big loss for Canada as the captain brings value to the team on both attack and defence. Kish was injured on Day One in Atlanta and missed the rest of tournament, but Tait says she is progressing well.
“If this was the Olympics she would and could play,” said Tait. “That being said, it isn’t, so we are being cautious on her return to competition and she will likely be back in for the rest of the series. Not having her in the team means that a few players will need to step up in their roles and stake a claim for continued selection because Kish will be back and as competitive as ever. We faced that challenge on Day Two in Atlanta where Kelly Russell, Kayla Moleschi and Karen Paquin all stepped up and had benchmark performances for Canada. We will need that again from those three in particular to be successful in Langford.”
Canada will be grouped with Russia, South Africa and USA in Pool C.
Langford Sevens Schedule
Day One – April 18, 2015
Canada vs Russia at 3:50 pm ET / 12:50 pm PT
Canada vs South Africa at 6:50 pm ET / 3:50 pm PT
Canada vs USA at 9:50 pm ET / 6:50 pm PT
Day Two – April 19, 2015
Canada’s Roster for Atlanta Sevens – Name, (Club) Hometown
Elissa Alarie – (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Britt Benn – (Guelph Redcoats) Napanee, ON
Hannah Darling – (Peterborough Pagans) Warsaw, ON
Bianca Farella – (Town of Mount Royal) Montreal, QC
Sara Kaljuvee – (Toronto Scottish) Ajax, ON
Ghislaine Landry – (Toronto Scottish) Toronto, ON
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 – Captain (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB
Natasha Watcham-Roy – (Hull Volant) Gatineau, QC
Canada’s Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Tait
Assistant Coach: Sandro Fiorino
Therapist: Sandeep Nandhra
Strength and Conditioning: Dana Agar-Newman
Manager: Meg Howat
Analyst: Callum Morris