Rio 2016 Bronze Medallist Kelly Russell returns to lead 3rd world-ranked Canada’s XV Team against 5th seeded Ireland on Saturday


DUBLIN, IRELAND – Canada’s senior women’s head coach Francois Ratier has named his starting team for Saturday’s November Tour opener against Ireland.


The squad will be captained by a returning Kelly Russell, who is also joined by fellow Rio 2016 bronze medallist Karen Paquin in the starting lineup. Magali Harvey and Elissa Alarie also make their return to the fifteens program having not featured since the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.


Canada’s front row is made up of Carolyn McEwen, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin while Latoya Blackwood and Kayla Mack form a formidable pairing at lock. Jacey Grusnick and Paquin bolster the flanks with Russell at No. 8.


Chelsea Guthrie starts at scrum-half with Emily Belchos at fly-half. Harvey and Alarie will line up on the wings with Andrea Burk and Alex Tessier at centre. Julianne Zussman starts at fullback. Canada comes into the game as the third ranked country in the world after a sublime Women’s Rugby Super Series (WRSS) in July where they completed a perfect 3-0 record with convincing wins over England, France and hosts USA.


Ireland is ranked fifth in the world. The two sides have met twice, each claiming a win. Canada stormed to a 57-0 win in the 2002 Women’s Rugby World Cup while Ireland nudged to a 15-8 victory in 2006. Saturday’s game can be seen LIVE on Irish Rugby’s Youtube page. Kickoff is 9am ET/6am PT.


Canada’s Roster vs. Ireland:


  1. Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club), Vancouver, BC
  2. Laura Russell (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
  3. DaLeaka Menin (Calgary Hornets) Vulcan, AB
  4. Latoya Blackwood (Westshore) Montreal, QC
  5. Kayla Mack (Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK
  6. Jacey Grusnick (Aurora Barbarians) Alliston, ON
  7. Karen Paquin (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
  8. Kelly Russell, Captain (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
  9. Chelsea Guthrie (Stratchona Druids) Edmonton, AB
  10. Emily Belchos (Westshore) Barrie, ON
  11. Magali Harvey (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
  12. Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC) North Vancouver, BC
  13. Alex Tessier (Montreal Barbarians) Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC
  14. Elissa Alarie (Westshore) Trois-Rivieres, QC
  15. Julianne Zussman (Castaway Wanderers) Montreal, QC
  16. Gillian Boag (Capilano/UBC) Calgary, AB
  17. Olivia DeMerchant (Woodstock Wildmen) Mapledale, NB
  18. Demi Stamatakis (SFU) Vancouver, BC
  19. Tyson Beukeboom (Aurora Barbarians) Uxbridge, ON
  20. Barbara Mervin (Westshore) Peterborough, ON
  21. Brianna Miller (SABRFC), Pointe-Claire, QC
  22. Mackenzie Higgs (Aurora Barbarians) Aurora, ON
  23. Brittany Waters (Meralomas/Castaway Wanderers) Vancouver, BC


Unavailable due to injury:


Daria Keane (Guelph Redcoats) Sarnia, ON

Mandy Marchak (Capilano) Winnipeg, MB

Cindy Nelles (Oakville Crusaders / Belleville Bulldogs) Belleville, ON

Kristy Sargent (Lep Tigers) Edmonton, AB

Amanda Thornborough (Westshore) Brandon, MB


Canada’s Senior Women’s Schedule:


Canada vs. Ireland — Nov. 19 — UCD Bowl, Ireland

Canada vs. New Zealand  — Nov. 23 — Donnybrook Stadium, Ireland

Canada vs. England — Nov. 26 — Twickenham, England

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