GLENDALE, CO (October 4, 2019) – Having made history four years ago in Rio, claiming bronze in the sports first ever Olympics, Canada’s Women’s 7s team is preparing to reach even higher at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, starting with a dominant performance on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The season is set to kickoff this weekend in Glendale, Colorado with the women coming in holding their third-place ranking on the series. Canada secured their Olympic qualification last June after winning bronze at the Biarritz Sevens, their fourth podium appearance of the season.
Now the focus is on the future ahead, getting the most out of every tournament and working towards the ultimate goal of bringing home gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“The Olympic year is always a big buzz,” said captain Ghislaine Landry. “It’s still 10 months away so it’s there and we are thinking about it, but at the same time it’s this weekend we really have to focus on.”
Landry is one of seven returning athletes from the 2016 Olympic squad alongside Bianca Farella, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Charity Williams, Britt Benn (currently out due to injury), and Elissa Alarie. With two more stops added to the series for the first time in its history, a strong leadership group is crucial to managing the stressors of the team in the heaviest year yet for the women’s game.
“We’ve got eight stops this year and a couple Maple Leafs tours to really get the whole squad the minutes and prep they need to get ready for the Olympics,” said coach John Tait. “It gives them the chance to compete and put their hand up for the Tokyo selection.”
However, the series isn’t just about preparation for the athletes. The rankings at the end of it will determine the seeding in Tokyo next summer.
“There’s no easy pools at the Olympics but it is favourable if we can get one of those one or two seeds going in,” added Tait. “If we could track towards that as the year goes on it will become more and more important to avoid the one and two ranked teams competing in the semifinal crossover.”
On top of an impressive group of veterans, Canada will look to utilize their depth chart, many of whom were tested on the big stage at the Pan-American games, winning gold in the finals against the Americans.
“We’ll have to use our depth and manage the load throughout the year,” added Tait. “But with eight series stops it just gives more opportunity for the wider squad to get in there at different points in the year and show what they can do.”
Pending recovery from injury, the full player pool will be looked at throughout the 2020 season with the Olympic team being named in 10 months time before the Games.
But for now, the team will focus on the task at hand, looking to start off the season with a golden performance in Glendale. Canada will face off against Fiji, Spain, and Australia this Saturday. Broadcast details are TBC but an update will be provided on Rugby Canada’s channels as soon as information is available.
Delaney Aikens, UBC (Briercrest, SK)
Elissa Alarie, Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
Pamphinette Buisa, Ottawa Irish (Gatineau, QC)
Emma Chown, Aurora Barbarians (Barrie, ON)
Caroline Crossley, Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RCF (Montreal, QC)
Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Ghislaine Landry, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON) ‘C’
Kaili Lukan, Unattached (Barrie, ON)
Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas, London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON)
Karen Paquin, Castaway Wanderers / CRQ (Quebec City, QC)
Charity Williams, Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Unavailable due to injury:
Britt Benn, Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Keyara Wardley, Okotoks Lions (Vulcan, AB)
Sara Kaljuvee, Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON)
Asia Hogan-Rochester, York Lions (Toronto, Ont.)
Day 1- October 5
Canada vs Fiji- 12:15pm ET/ 9:15am PT
Canada vs Spain- 2:59pm ET/ 11:59am PT
Canada vs Australia- 5:43pm ET/ 2:43pm PT
Day 2- October 6