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Veteran Canada squad named

Canada’s women’s rugby head coach Francois Ratier has named squad for the 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.

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: 

Elissa Alarie, Emily Belchos, Tyson Beukeboom, Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Andrea Burk, Olivia DeMerchant, Jacey Grusnick, Chelsea Guthrie, Magali Harvey, Lori Josephson, Brittany Kassil, Jane Kirby, Kayla Mack, Saskatoon, Carolyn McEwen, DaLeaka Menin, Barbara Mervin, Brianna Miller,Chelsey Minter, Cindy Nelles, Karen Paquin, Frederique Rajotte, Laura Russell, Kelly Russell, Kristy Sargent, Alex Tessier, Amanda Thornborough, Brittany Waters, Julianne Zussman,