Canada's National Senior Women's Sevens Team has embarked on a very important two tournament tour of London and Amsterdam.
First up, Coach John Tait and his team are settling in at the IRB London Sevens, in England, which also serves as the final leg of the IRB Women's Challenge Cup series. After claiming the first leg of the Challenge Cup in Dubai, in December 2011, Canada's women were defeated by England in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong tournament. Now, having travelled to Twickenham Stadium, the home of English rugby, the Canadians will attempt to re-claim their place atop of the world of Sevens rugby, on England's home ground.
Coach Tait has selected a squad of 14 players to travel and compete at the London Sevens on May 12-13 and shortly after in the Amsterdam Sevens from May 19-20.
"The selection process has actually become more difficult," said Tait. "There are girls that haven't been regulars in other competitions, that have been pushing really hard from the development squad. Having these extra matches, this will be a good opportunity to give some of the younger girls more opportunity to play in this tournament."
Canada's management is pleased with the addition of the London Sevens tournament to this year's schedule, as the women will be the playing at least six matches in London. As the 2013 World Cup of Sevens draws closer, Canada will need every opportunity to sharpen its cutting edge.
"We are looking forward to having the opportunity to play additional games. Having 12 teams in this tournament is going to give us the opportunity for at least five to six games. At this stage for us, the most important thing is getting more and more game experience under our belt," explains Tait.
When the dust clears from London, Canada's women will still have the opportunity to repeat as champions of the annual women's rugby showcase, in Holland.
The squad is filled with many familiar faces, as eight of the women have played on every stop so far on the circuit. These "veterans" include the likes of Magali Harvey, Jen Kish, and Ghislaine Landry. All the women who competed at Hong Kong will be returning minus Andrea Burk, who is out with an injury.
The squad departed on May 8 from Langford, B.C., where they have been training together since January and are now in their final preparations, near London.
The National Women's Sevens team is proudly sponsored by Macquarie Financial, with additional support from Own the Podium.
2012 London/Amsterdam Sevens Squad
Jessica Dovanne - Velox Valkyries (Victoria, BC)
Megan Gibbs - Markham Irish Canadians (Barrie, ON)
Magali Harvey - Club de Rugby de Quebec / St. Francis-Xavier University (Quebec City, QC)
Jen Kish - Edmonton Rockers (Edmonton, AB)
Ghislaine Landry - Toronto Scottish RFC (Toronto, ON)
Mandy Marchak - Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC / Winnipeg, MN)
Barbara Mervin - Velox Valkyries (Victoria, BC)
Kayla Moleschi - University of Lethbridge / University of Lethbridge (Williams Lake, BC)
Cheryl Phillips - Toronto Scottish RFC (Toronto, ON)
Kelly Russell - Toronto Nomads (Bolton, ON)
Ashley Steacy - Lethbridge Rugby Club (Lethbridge, AB)
Brittany Waters - Meraloma Athletic Club (Vancouver, BC)
Kelsey Willoughby - Lethbridge Rugby Club / University of Lethbridge (Lethbridge, AB)
Julianne Zussman- Town of Mount Royal RFC, (Montreal, QB)
John Tait- Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino- Assistant Coach
Kristy Martin Hale- Manager
Kim Oslund – Therapist
Tyler Goodale - Strength & Conditioning Coach
Jeff Hull - Press Officer