Canada coach John Tait has named his 13-strong squad for the HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens, the final round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2016-17.
Fresh from a runners-up finish in their home event in Langford last month, Canada travel to France tied for second place with Olympic champions Australia on 82 points, 14 points by series leaders New Zealand, but assured of a top three finish with Russia back on 58 points in fourth.
Tait will be looking for someone to replace the workload done by the inspirational Jen Kish, who suffered a fractured pelvis on day one in Langford and is the only change to the 12 players for that tournament which was Canada's best result on home soil.
“Kish consistently wins us a lot of ball in the air and on the ground so we will need our other forwards to compete hard in those areas particularly,” said Tait. “We have good options at hooker with Natasha, Charity and Megan, who are all very strong in the ground game. Our props Hannah, Bianca and Caroline have been competing consistently well at restarts.”
Farewell to Steacy
Pamphinette Buisa and Kaili Lukan have been named in the squad and are in line for their series debuts in France as Canada look to defend the HSBC Clermont-Ferrand Sevens title. They will face Russia, England and Brazil in Pool B.
Canada are defending Clermont-Ferrand Sevens champions and will be the top seed in Pool B where they'll face Russia, England and Brazil, three teams they also faced in Langford.
“We always believe we can win, so we’ll just be focused on performing consistently, no matter who we play,” said Tait. “We won there last season with everyone making quality contributions and will hope to get the same this time around.”
This tournament will also be the last for veteran Ashley Steacy (pictured), who is retiring from the sevens team at the end of the season.
“Ashley is such a quality person that connects with everyone in the team,” said Tait. “She has always been a quiet leader and always competes her hardest. She is as tough as they come and puts her body into every tackle she makes and runs herself into the ground every time for the team.
“Ashley has paved the way for players like Kayla Moleschi and Breanne Nicholas, not the biggest in stature but they are fierce competitors that put the team first. I’ve learned so much from her and I’m really grateful to have been her coach for so long.”
Canada squad: Britt Benn, Pamphinette Buisa, Caroline Crossley, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Julia Greenshields, Ghislaine Landry (captain), Kaili Lukan, Megan Lukan, Breanne Nicholas, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Charity Williams.