Ashley Steacy Photo credit Lorne Collicutt/RugbyCanada
Canada currently ranked second heading into London and Amsterdam stops on World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series; Top four finishers qualify for RIO 2016
Langford, BC – Canada’s Women’s Sevens head coach John Tait has announced his roster for the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series taking place in London May 15-16 and Amsterdam May 22-23.
With the England Sevens and Amsterdam Sevens kicking off on back-to-back weeks, Tait will be travelling to Europe with 13 players. Canada will be looking to rebound after finishing a disappointing sixth at last month’s Canada Sevens in Langford, their worst result at a series event since February of 2013.
The team will likely receive a big boost with the return of their captain Jen Kish, who is back after missing Langford with injury. Tait says Kish has been back in full training for quite some time and will be ready to compete in London and Amsterdam.
“Kish has an array of skills and I’m excited as she can make the players around her better,” said Tait. “She generates a lot of positive turnovers on kickoffs and in the tackle.
“Conversely, she really has been looking after the ball this season and helps create space for others in attack with her skill sets,” said Tait.
While Kish’s presence gives Canada a stronger identity, the team will be travelling without one of their most important players, as Kelly Russell is out with injury and will not return to the team until this summer at the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Up until this point, Russell has never missed a series event.
“She is a massive loss for us with her being so solid on winning restarts and maintaining possession with her excellent ball skills,” said Tait. “Having Kish back will certainly help but it will also give some others like Karen Paquin, Sara Kaljuvee, Bianca Farella and Hannah Darling more opportunity to show they can provide the same as well.”
Also travelling with the team will be Mandy Marchak and Magali Harvey. Marchak rejoins the team after missing out on Langford while Harvey is back for the first time since the opening round of the season in Dubai.
“Magali has been working really hard at improving all areas of her game, particular her decisions with the ball and work rate off it,” said Tait. “She is in good form right now and she will give us more speed options out wide and at sweep.”
Tait has a strong mix of talent heading to Europe, with speed, size and strength giving him many options in formations. It also ensures a healthy and in-form team at each of the final two stops on this season’s schedule. This is the only time during the season where two tournaments take place are on successive weekends.
“Within all the tournaments you need to account for the physicality and opposition strengths in your pool by having a balance of skill sets among the 12 players to compete for the ball and turn possession to points,” said Tait. “I like the back-to-back tournaments because I feel it favours the best prepared teams, both physically and technically.”
Canada will be grouped with England, Russia and South Africa in Pool B.
“We are confident this group has all the tools required to win in London and can take us another step closer to Olympic qualification,” said Tait.
All matches from the England Sevens will be streamed LIVE at http://www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series
England Sevens Schedule
Day One – May 15, 2015
Canada vs Russia at 1:28 pm local time (8:28 am ET / 5:28 am PT)
Canada vs South Africa at 4:12 pm local time (11:12 am ET / 8:12 am PT)
Canada vs England at 7:18 pm local time (2:18 pm ET / 11:18 am PT)
Day Two – May 16, 2015
Canada’s Roster for England and Amsterdam 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
Magali Harvey – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Sara Kaljuvee – (Toronto Scottish) Ajax, ON
Jennifer Kish – Captain (Edmonton Rockers RFC) Edmonton, AB
Ghislaine Landry – (Toronto Scottish) Toronto, ON
Mandy Marchak – (Capilano RFC) Winnipeg, MB
Kayla Moleschi – (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC
Karen Paquin – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Ashley Steacy – (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB
Natasha Watcham-Roy – (Hull Volant) Gatineau, QC
Unavailable due to injury:
Kelly Russell – (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
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
Canada’s Women’s Sevens Program is proudly sponsored by Sport Canada, Own the Podium, Goldcorp, Dairy Farmers of Canada and B2TEN.