LANGFORD, BC — Canada’s Senior Women’s Head Coach Francois Ratier has announced a 27-player squad for next month’s tour to England and Ireland.

The squad features 22 returnees from July’s Women’s Rugby Super Series (WRSS) as Canada get set to face Ireland, New Zealand and England.

“We want to work on the continuity on and off the field,” Ratier said. “We also know the opposition will be strong and that’s why we are excited to meet the challenge.

“We want to try new player combinations and spend time working together.”

Emily Belchos, Tyson Beukeboom, Latoya Blackwood, Andrea Burk, Olivia DeMerchant, Julia Folk,Fabiola Forteza, Jacey Grusnick, Chelsea Guthrie, Anais Holly, Jane Kirby, Kayla Mack, Carolyn McEwen, DaLeaka Menin, Barbara Mervin, Brianna Miller, Frédérique Rajotte, Laura Russell,Demi Stamatakis, Alex Tessier, Brittany Waters and Julianne Zussman all return after helping Canada claim the 2016 WRSS with a perfect 3-0 record.

Mackenzie Higgs is also called into the squad while Elissa Alarie, Magali Harvey, Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell return from Canada’s sevens program.

“We are excited to be back on tour again with only nine months to go until the World Cup in

Ireland,” said Meaghan Howat. “There are many veterans to lead this squad and a ton of young talent that has demonstrated their ability to play internationally. It is especially great to see standouts from the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup team in Kelly Russell, Karen Paquin, Magali Harvey and Elissa Alarie return to the team.”

Canada heads overseas as the No. 2 ranked team in the world after climbing four spots duringthe WRSS after convincing wins over England, USA and France. Canada scored 114 points in its three games while conceding only 32.

The tour will offer a stern test for Canada who are wedged between New Zealand and England in the world rankings with Ireland currently ranked sixth.

“Ireland host the World Cup in August, New Zealand is No. 1 in the world and England just turned fully professional and are World Cup champs,” Ratier said. “We will know what our level will be nine months before the World Cup.”

Streaming details and kickoff times for all three games are still to be confirmed.

Canada’s Senior Women’s Squad for Tour to Ireland and England (Name, club, hometown):

Elissa Alarie (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC

Emily Belchos (Markham Irish) Barrie, ON

Tyson Beukeboom (Aurora Barbarians) Uxbridge, ON

Latoya Blackwood (St. Anne de Bellevue/Toulouse) Montreal, QC

Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC) North Vancouver, BC

Olivia DeMerchant (Woodstock Wildmen) Mapledale, NB

Julia Folk (UVic/Castaway Wanderers), Regina, SK

Fabiola Forteza (Club de Rugby de Quebec) Quebec, QC

Jacey Grusnick (Aurora Barbarians) Alliston, ON

Chelsea Guthrie (Stratchona Druids) Edmonton, AB

Magali Harvey (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC

Mackenzie Higgs (Aurora Barbarians) Aurora, ON

Anais Holly (TMRRFC) Montreal, QC

Jane Kirby (Highland RFC) Brampton, ON

Kayla Mack (Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK

Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club), Vancouver, BC

DaLeaka Menin (Hornets) Vulcan, AB

Barbara Mervin (Velox RFC) Peterborough, ON

Brianna Miller (SABRFC), Pointe-Claire, QC

Karen Paquin (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC

Frédérique Rajotte (Sainte Anne de Bellevue RFC) Sainte Anne de Bellevue, QC

Laura Russell (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON

Kelly Russell (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON