Vikes players, coaches headed out on tour with Canadian National teams

Folk, Keys, Waters, Mervin, Russell and Zussman all named to team Canada for upcoming games

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VICTORIA—Two current Vikes athletes and four members of the women’s coaching staff will get the opportunity to represent their country at the highest level possible in games throughout the month of November.

Julia Folk and Conor Keys, both members of the Vikes, will travel to Europe to play for the women’s and men’s national rugby XV’s teams respectively. Joining Folk to play with the national women’s team will be Vikes head coach Brittany Waters, as well as assistant coaches Barbara Mervin, Laura Russell and Julianne Zussman.

Folk, a flanker, is the captain and a key component of a Vikes team that has earned back-to-back berths to the national championships. The third-year Vike from Regina, Saskatchewan was named to the 2016 Canada West All-Star team.

The women’s team heads overseas to play Ireland, England and New Zealand. Canada is currently the No. 2 ranked team in the world.

“Ireland host the World Cup in August, New Zealand is No. 1 in the world and England are World Cup champs,” Canada’s senior women’s head coach Francois 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.

Keys, a second-year lock, and the men’s team will also travel to Ireland to start their tour. The No. 18 ranked Canadians will play Ireland in Dublin on November 12, before travelling to Bucharest to play Romania on November 19. The men finish their tour with a game against Samoa, in France on November 25.

The squad features a wealth of experience but also a blend of youth including Keys, Admir Cejvanovic and Ben LeSage who could all earn their first test caps on tour. Brett Beukeboom, Connor Braid, Phil Mack, Conor Trainor and DTH van der Merwe also rejoin the squad having not featured for Canada since last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Theses games are extremely vital,” Canada senior men’s head coach Mark Anscombe said. “We’re playing a Tier 1 nation in Dublin in front of a full house and we don’t get to do that very often so it’s a great opportunity for the guys to show what they are capable of. With ranking points on the line, the other two games are critical if we want to move up in the world rankings.”

WOMEN’S ROSTER
Canada’s Senior Women’s Squad for UK Tour (Name, club, hometown):
Elissa Alarie (Westshore) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Emily Belchos (Westshore) Barrie, ON
Tyson Beukeboom (Aurora Barbarians) Uxbridge, ON
Latoya Blackwood (Westshore) 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 (Calgary Hornets) Vulcan, AB
Barbara Mervin (Westshore) 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
Demi Stamatakis (SFU) Vancouver, BC
Alex Tessier (Montreal Barbarians) Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC
Brittany Waters (Castaway Wanderers) Vancouver, BC
Julianne Zussman (Castaway Wanderers) Montreal, QC

MEN’S ROSTER
Canada’s November Tour Roster (Name, Club, Roster):
Kyle Baillie – (Westshore RFC/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Aaron Carpenter – (London Welsh/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
Jake Ilnicki – (Manawatu Turbos/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
Conor Keys – (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
Ryan Kotlewski – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, ON
Ben Lesage – (UBC Thunderbirds/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Gordon McRorie – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
Clay Panga – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Patrick Parfrey – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
Lucas Rumball – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Conor Trainor – (RC Vannes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
DTH van Der Merwe – (Scarlets) Victoria, BC

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