“The team has been methodically preparing for the series start in Dubai but recognizing that the entire season ahead is about preparing to physically, technically and tactically peak in Rio,” Tait said. “Everyone in this program works extremely hard to put themselves forward in selection to represent this country and team.
“Caroline has great potential to become a mainstay in this team well beyond Rio. She continues to grow her skill set and already has become very strong at winning restarts, work rate and looking after the ball. Megan has developed her playmaking ability to threaten defences with her vision, passing and off-loading ability. I’m looking forward to now seeing if they can now bring those attributes to the series level of competition.”
Veterans Kelly Russell, Ghislaine Landry, Kayla Moleschi, Britt Benn, Karen Paquin and Mandy Marchak are included as are Arielle Dubissette-Borrice and Julia Greenshields.
Canada has been drawn into Pool B where they will face the USA, Fiji and Ireland. They hold a winning record against all three of their pool opponents — they’ve never lost to Fiji in three matches, are 1-0 against Ireland and have a 10-1-1 record against the USA. The tournament takes place Dec. 4-5 and can be seen LIVE atwww.worldrugby.org
While Canada will take a strong side to Dubai, they have also been hampered by injuries as Ashley Steacy, Hannah Darling, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Bianca Farella, Sara Kaljuvee, Elissa Alarie and Nadia Popov will all miss the tournament. Between them, they have 49 appearances on the Sevens Series.
“Injuries are apart of the game, especially at this level, we are just looking to make the most of them by trying some new combinations and tactics as well as providing the other athletes in our program a chance to step up and claim a place in our series squads,” Tait said. “Winning another Dubai title would be great but would just be a by-product of the process goals we’re focused on achieving in Dubai and executing our game plan when it really counts the most.”
Last season, Canada had the most successful sevens season in Canadian history as they finished second on the series and clinched their spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They also won their first Cup title in the final tournament of the year in Amsterdam.
New Zealand are the three time defending champions but Canada will be favoured by many to be the team to finally end the Black Ferns’ dominance on the series.
Lukan is a crossover athlete who previously played four years of collegiate basketball at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Lukan has made two appearances for Canada’s Maple Leafs, playing in Amsterdam last season as well as in the Central Coast Sevens last month.
Crossley, who is only 17, has been a rising star in Canada’s ranks for the last year. The Victoria, B.C., native was part of Canada’s Maple Leafs squad at the Hong Kong Sevens last season and also played in Amsterdam. In September, she represented Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa where Canada claimed silver.
In addition to the Sevens Series event, Canada will also enter a Maple Leafs side into the Dubai International Invitational. Emily Belchos, Kayla Mack and Charity Williams are included, all of whom have Sevens Series experience, while Breanne Nicholas, who is centralized with Canada’s Sevens program, is named to the 11-man team. The team will be coached by Morgan Williams.
Canada’s Roster for the Dubai Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
Britt Benn – (Guelph Redcoats) Napanee, ON
Caroline Crossley – (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
Arielle Dubissette-Borrice – (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Julia Greenshields – (Sarnia Saints) Sarnia, ON
Magali Harvey – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Jen Kish, captain – (Edmonton Rockers RFC) Edmonton, AB
Ghislaine Landry – (Toronto Scottish) Toronto, ON
Megan Lukan – (Unattached) Barrie, ON
Mandy Marchak – (Capilano) Winnipeg, MB
Kayla Moleschi – (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC
Karen Paquin – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Kelly Russell – (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Canada’s Dubai Sevens Schedule:
Canada vs. Fiji — 3:20am ET, 12:20 am PT
Canada vs. Ireland — 6:16am ET, 3:16am PT
Canada vs. USA 9:13am ET, 6:13am PT
Canada’s Maple Leafs Roster for the Dubai International Invitational: (Name, club, hometown):
Moanda Anglo – Regina, SK
Olivia Apps – (Lindsay RFC) Lindsay, ON
Emily Belchos – (Markham Irish) Innisfil, ON
Christina Branch – (Oshawa Vikings) Oshawa, ON
Ashley Gordon – (Brampton Beavers) Brampton, ON
Nakisa Levale (Abbotsford, BC)
Kayla Mack – (Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK
Breanne Nicholas – (London St. George’s) Blenheim, ON
Nicole Ronsky (Calgary, AB)
Elysa Sandron (Winnipeg, MB)
Charity Williams – (Markham Irish) Toronto, ON
Canada’s Maple Leafs Dubai International Invitational Schedule:
Maple Leafs vs. South Africa Women — 12am ET, 9pm PT
Maple Leafs vs. Belgium Rugby 7s — 2:40am ET, 11:40pm PT
Maple Leafs vs. Tabusoro Angels — 5:54 am ET, 2:54am PT
TBDCanada’s Coaching Staff:
John Tait – Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino – Assistant Coach
Meaghan Howat – Manager
Sandeep Nandhra – Athletic Therapist
Tyler Goodale – Strength & Conditioning
Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team is proudly sponsored by Sport Canada, Own The Podium, B2TEN, Goldcorp and Canada Dairy Farmers.
Barrie, ON’s Megan Lukan and Victoria, BC’s Caroline Crossley to make Canada debut as Coach John Tait announces team for Dubai opener to World Series
LANGFORD, BC – Head coach John Tait has named his squad for the opening round of the 2015-16 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series to be held in Dubai Dec. 3-4. Jen Kish will captain the team while Megan Lukan and Caroline Crossley will both make their Sevens Series debuts for Canada.