Canada’s senior women’s head coach Francois Ratier has named a 28-player roster for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup to be held in Ireland next month. The squad features 18 returnees from Canada’s 2014 squad that won silver including captain Kelly Russell and player of the tournament Magali Harvey.
“I would say our capacity to respond to challenges is the greatest strength of this squad,” Ratier said. “We were hard on players in New Zealand and during the Can-Am Series to make sure they were not in the team just to wear the jersey but to perform in every game.
“They have responded well and we are expecting the same during this tough World Cup.”
In addition to Russell and Harvey, Elissa Alarie, Emily Belchos, Tyson Beukeboom, Latoya Blackwood, Andrea Burk, Olivia DeMerchant, Jacey Grusnick, Jane Kirby, Kayla Mack, Barbara Mervin, Cindy Nelles, Karen Paquin, Laura Russell, Amanda Thornborough, Brittany Waters and Julianne Zussman all return from 2014.
Chelsea Guthrie, Lori Josephson, Brittany Kassil, Carolyn McEwen, DaLeaka Menin, Brianna Miller, Chelsey Minter, Frederique Rajotte, Kristy Sargent and Alex Tessier will all make their Women’s Rugby World Cup debuts in Ireland.
Furthermore, Gillian Boag, Anais Holly, Daria Keane, Katie McNally, Camille Provencal-Aube, Natasha Smith and Sara Svoboda have been named as non-travelling reserves.
The squad selected shows very little turnover from Canada’s Can-Am Series and International Women’s Rugby Series (IWRS) earlier this year.
“We want to keep some continuity in our work and it’s important for players to know each other on and off the field,” Ratier said. “We also have a non-travelling list of players who know our plans and culture.”
Canada beat the USA twice in March, winning 39-5 and 37-10 before heading to New Zealand for the IWRS. Canada finished third in the IRWS after a 28-16 loss to the Black Ferns, a 27-20 defeat to England and a resounding 45-5 win over Australia.
Heading into the Women’s Rugby World Cup, Canada ranks third in the world. In Ireland, they will face No. 2 ranked New Zealand, No. 10 ranked Wales and No. 23 ranked Hong Kong. All three pool games will take place at Billings Park UCD in Dublin.
“First we need to get through the pool,” Ratier said. “With this tournament format there is no room for mistakes.
“We will take it one game at a time and we will see where we are at the end but right now our entire focus is on the game against Hong Kong.”
Canada faces Hong Kong August 9, Wales August 13 and New Zealand August 17. The tournament features three pools of four. The three pool winners advance to the semi-finals along with the best second place team. All three of Canada’s pool games as well as the two semi-finals and final, will be shown LIVE on TSN.
Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup Squad (Name, club, hometown):
Elissa Alarie, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON)
Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)
Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
Jacey Grusnick, Aurora Barbarians (Alliston, ON)
Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby de Quebec (Quebec City, QC)
Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON)
Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC)
Chelsey Minter, Westshore RFC (Victoria, BC)
Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers (QuebecCity, QC)
Frederique Rajotte, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Montreal, QC)
Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC( Bolton, ON)
Kelly Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
Kristy Sargent, Leprechaun Tigers (Edmonton, AB)
Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)
Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
Gillian Boag, Capilano RFC (Calgary, AB)
Anais Holly, TMRRFC (Montreal, QC)
Daria Keane, Guelph Redcoats (Sarnia, ON)
Katie McNally, Castaway Wanderers (Guelph, ON)
Camile Provencal-Aube, Abénakis et CRQ/Castaway Wanderers (Sherbrooke, QC)
Natasha Smith, Barrhaven Scottish/Cowichan RFC (Ottawa, ON)
Sara Svoboda, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
Francois Ratier — Head Coach
Shaun Allen — Assistant Coach
Gary Dukelow — Scrum Coach
Colette McAuley — Technical Support
Nicole Crowley — Manager
Shannon Houston — Doctor
Nicole Ainsworth — Lead Therapist
Brad Curry — Support Therapist
Jamie McCartney — Strength and Conditioning
James Kent — Video Analyst
Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:
Canada vs. Hong Kong — August 9 — 12:15pm ET/9:15am PT
Canada vs. Wales — August 13 — 12pm ET/9am PT
Canada vs. New Zealand — August 17 — 7am ET/4am PT