LANGFORD, B.C. – Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team Head Coach John Tait has named his roster for the upcoming Las Vegas Sevens, the third leg in the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Canada is coming off a cup title earlier this month at the Sydney Sevens, their third-ever cup trophy and second in the last three series events dating back to last season.
Tait is making two changes to his winning side in Sydney with Caroline Crossley and Sara Kaljuvee replacing Julia Greenshields and Ashley Steacy in Las Vegas.
“Ashley is a part of her sister’s wedding so understandably unavailable to go,” said Tait. “Everyone has been training well so it was a tough selection but there is a lot of physicality and versatility within this team selection. Caroline has been consistently good in the practice and scrimmages so I’m looking forward to watching her compete in Vegas.”
Joining Crossley and Kaljuvee are Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry (captain), Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Breanne Nicholas, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams.
Greenshields will also be in Las Vegas this weekend as Canada will be sending their Maple Leafs development team to participate in the Las Vegas International Invitational Sevens. Greenshields will play alongside Olivia Apps, Margaret Banks, Pam Buisa, Emma Chown, Ashley Gordon, Nakisa Levale, Kaili Lukan, Irene Patrinos, Erika Scott and Keyara Wardley.
Canada enter this weekend third in the series standings, two points behind second-place Australia and four points behind series leaders New Zealand. Canada’s never won back-to-back series events and has never won two events in the same season. Tait is hoping to change both of those this weekend.
“We always believe in our ability to contest for the cup in every tournament and that is the goal for Las Vegas,” said Tait. “Although we won in Sydney the team identified areas we can improve on and know we will have to be better again to get another result.”
Canada will be the top seed in Pool A, where they will be joined by Argentina, France and Russia.
Canada opens the tournament against the Russians, who they’ve met in the cup quarterfinals at both events so far this season, with the teams splitting the two matches. Canada hold a 10-4-1 all-time record vs Russia in the series.
Canada will then face an unfamiliar Argentina side, a team they have not played since a 31-0 win in January of 2013. The Canadians will conclude pool play against France, who they have had much success against on the series, holding a 10-2 all-time record.
“Russia are dangerous, they can score from anywhere and are likely the fastest and one of the most physical teams in the series,” said Tait. “France try and wear opponents down with ball movement and possession. Argentina will be a little unknown but we will treat them no different and will be aggressive on defense and create some turnovers into scores early on to keep them under pressure.”
Canada’s USA Sevens Roster (Name, club, hometown):
Britt Benn – Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Caroline Crossley – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Hannah Darling – Peterborough Pagans (Warsaw, ON)
Bianca Farella – Town of Mont Royal (Montreal, QC)
Sara Kaljuvee – Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON)
Jen Kish – Edmonton Rockers (Edmonton, AB)
Ghislaine Landry – Captain, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
Megan Lukan – Unattached (Barrie, ON)
Kayla Moleschi – Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas – London St. Georges (Blenheim, ON)
Natasha Watcham-Roy – Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC)
Charity Williams – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Meaghan Howat – Manager
John Tait – Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino – Assistant Coach
Morgan Williams – Assistant Coach
Maple Leafs Las Vegas International Invitational Roster (Name, club, hometown):
Olivia Apps – Aurora Barbarians (Lindsay, ON)
Margaret Banks – Shawnigan Lake (Coquitlam, BC)
Pamphinette Buisa – Ottawa Irish (Gatineau, QC)
Emma Chown – Kingston Panthers (Barrie, ON)
Ashley Gordon – Brampton Beavers (Brampton, ON)
Julia Greenshields – Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Nakisa Levale – Abbotsford Griffins (Abbotsford, BC)
Kaili Lukan – Unattached (Barrie, ON)
Irene Patrinos – Ottawa Irish (Mississauga, ON)
Erika Scott – Ormstown Saracens (Dewittville, QC)
Keyara Wardley – Okotoks Lions (Vulcan, AB)
Canada’s USA Sevens Day 1 Schedule (Friday, March 3rd):
Canada vs Russia at 12:01 pm ET / 9:01 am PT
Canada vs Argentina at 2:46 pm ET / 11:46 am PT
Canada vs France at 5:31 pm ET / 2:31 pm PT