Canada coach John Tait has unveiled the 25 centralised players who will be targeting success not only on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series but also at RWC Sevens 2018.
Two thirds of the squad have experience of the series and nine of those players were part of the Canadian side that won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
They are joined by some exciting young players, among them Olivia de Couvreur (pictured below), Tausani Levale and Carmen Izyk who helped Canada claim the silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in July.
Ghislaine Landry (main picture), the all-time leading point-scorer in women’s series history with 844, will continue to captain Canada in a season that will also see them compete in the Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast in April.
“With the start of the new Olympic cycle already underway, it’s hugely important to us to get what we currently believe is the core of the team that will be in Tokyo 2020 working and growing together as a group,” Tait said.
“The programme has evolved greatly over the last five years and it is gratifying to see the athletes we identified for the Youth Olympics, Youth Commonwealth Games and FISU Sevens teams coming through and providing us with some quality depth within this new centralised group.
“We are a much more skilled and physically talented group than where we finished the last quad and it is absolutely necessary to keep the top development players training and accessing the support of our centralised programme.
Consistency key to series success
“The returning players will enhance the skill sets and expedite the game understanding of our development players by training alongside them. My expectation is that those development athletes will in turn push those senior players for selection in the years ahead.”
Canada finished third in the 2016-17 series behind champions New Zealand and Olympic gold medallists Australia, tasting victory in Sydney, but Tait has his eyes on the series crown in 2018.
“This season we will be targeting the world series title,” admitted Tait. “It means we will need to be consistently challenging for the Cup finals at all five stops to be in contention to win it come the last stop in Paris.
“Winning the overall series shows who the most consistent team is and a lot of confidence comes from that. This will set us up well for our next goal of winning the World Cup in July as the top seeded team.
“The Commonwealth Games is a secondary goal as it is back-to-back with a series stop, so we will need to have our entire squad in good form to achieve the outcomes we are looking for.”
The series kicks off in Dubai on 30 November with further stops in Sydney and Kitakyushu before the HSBC Canada Sevens in Langford on 12-13 May and the finale in Paris on 8-10 May.
Canada centralised squad: Olivia Apps, Maggie Banks, Brittany Benn, Pamphinette Buisa, Emma Chown, Caroline Crossley, Hannah Darling, Olivia de Couvreur, Bianca Farella, Maddy Grant, Julia Greenshields, Carmen Izyk, Sara Kaljuvee, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry (captain), Nakisa Levale, Tausani Levale, Kaili Lukan, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Breanne Nicholas, Arielle Normandin-Leclerc, Keyara Wardley, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Charity Williams.