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Canadian women's rugby team opens Pacific Four Series against U.S. in California

Team Canada women's rugby celebrates Team Canada celebrates - The Canadian Press

The Canada women's rugby team sees its first action of 2024 on Sunday when it opens the Pacific Four Series against the ninth-ranked United States in Carson, Calif.

The game is the first for the fourth-ranked Canadians since November, when they finished runner-up to No. 1 England at the WXV tournament. Canada has won eight straight matches over the U.S., including a 50-17 victory to begin last year’s Pacific Four Series.

Sunday's match is one-half of a doubleheader at Dignity Health Sport Park, with RFC Los Angeles hosting the defending Major League Rugby champion New England Free Jacks in the nightcap.

Canada coach Kevin Rouet had a camp in Barcelona for the European-based players before a four-day session in Langford, B.C., with the full roster before leaving for California.

"The beauty is for this camp I didn't have new caps," said Rouet. "So everybody has at least one cap and one tour with us, so they know the dynamic, they know how we work. So I think it was an efficient four days of camp. That's the beauty of not having new people in the environment."

The Canadian matchday 23 for Sunday features 16 players who are with overseas clubs — 10 from England, four from France and once each from Australia and New Zealand.

After Sunday, Canada flies Down Under to face No. 5 Australia on May 11 in Sydney before heading to Christchurch to take on No. 2 New Zealand on May 19.

The top three teams in the Pacific Four Series qualify for the WXV's top division, which also features the top three from the Women's Six Nations. And there is added incentive for Rouet's team since Canada is hosting the WXV.

Vancouver will stage the WXV from Sept. 27 to Oct. 13 with "select games" to be held at B.C. Place Stadium.

Canada opened last year's Pacific Four tournament by thumping the U.S. in Madrid before coming home to Ottawa, where it downed Australia 45-7 and lost 52-21 to New Zealand in front of a Canadian women's record crowd of 10,092 at TD Place.

Veteran lock Tyson Beukeboom will earn her 66th cap for Canada, putting her just one behind Canada’s all-time women’s cap leader, Gillian Florence. Captain Sophie de Goede shifts to openside flanker with Gabrielle Senft taking over at No. 8.

Edmonton hooker Sara Cline is set to make her first start for Canada after coming off the bench to earn her first two caps last year.

Claire Gallagher, now playing in England for Leicester Tigers, starts at fly half.

The matchday 23 includes three players who represented Canada at the HSBC SVNS Series in Hong Kong earlier this month. Pamphinette Buisa starts at blindside flanker and Sabrina Poulin at fullback with sevens captain Olivia Apps on the bench

Cassandra Tuffnail, sidelined by an injury, has been replaced by Mya Brubacher in Canada’s 30-player squad.

Canada Roster

Olivia DeMerchant, Mapledale, N.B., Halifax Tars RFC; Sara Cline, Edmonton, Western Force (Australia); DaLeaka Menin, Vulcan, Alta., Exeter Chiefs (England) ; Tyson Beukeboom, Uxbridge, Ont., Ealing Trailfinders (England); Laetitia Royer, Loretteville, Que., ASM Romagnat (France); Pamphinette Buisa, Gatineau, Que., Ottawa Irish; Sophie de Goede, Victoria, Saracens (England); Gabrielle Senft, Regina, Stade Bordelais (France); Justine Pelletier, Riviere-du-Loup, Que., Stade Bordelais (France); Claire Gallagher, Caledon, Ont., Leicester Tigers (England); Paige Farries, Red Deer, Alta., Saracens (England); Alexandra Tessier, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, Que., Exeter Chiefs (England); Shoshanah Seumanutafa, White Rock, B.C., Chiefs Manawa (New Zealand); Maddie Grant, Cornwall, Ont., Cornwall Claymores; Sabrina Poulin, St-Georges, Que., Town of Mount Royal RFC.


Emily Tuttosi, Souris, Man., Exeter Chiefs (England); McKinley Hunt, King City, Ont., Saracens (England); Alexandria Ellis, Ottawa, Stade Français (France);; Courtney Holtkamp, Rimbey, Alta., Red Deer Titans Rugby; Julia Omokhuale, Calgary, Leicester Tigers (England); Olivia Apps, Lindsay, Ont., Lindsay RFC; Julia Schell, Uxbridge, Ont., Ealing Trailfinders (England); Fancy Bermudez, Edmonton, Westshore RFC.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2024.