Campus Life

Three Horns named to Canadian squad

Canada, the defending champions of the Hong Kong Sevens and reigning IRB Sevens Challenge Cup holders, have named their roster for the upcoming IRB event in China, which kicks off on Mar. 23.

Head Coach John Tait, having recently guided the Canadian women to a second consecutive victory at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, has named a strong side full of speed, power and experience.

Leading the Canadians in pursuit of their sixth consecutive major tournament win will be experienced veterans like Kelly Russell, who played every minute of every game for Canada at their previous IRB Challenge Cup win, in Dubai. Russell makes up one twelfth of a squad that features a dynamic and exciting core of talent. Powerful runners like Alberta's Jen Kish and Manitoba's Mandy Marchak will look to punch holes in opposition defences and make room for the raw speed and creativity embodied in the likes Ghislaine Landry and former University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Ashley Steacy.

Steacy, one of the most decorated players CIS women's rugby history was a part of the 'Horns three CIS Championships teams and was a two-time CIS Player of the Year.

Joining Steacy from the 'Horns program are Kelsey Willoughby and Kayla Moleschi, who both helped the 'Horns win a sixth consecutive Canada West title last fall. Willoughby was the Canada West MVP and All-Canadian, while Moleschi stormed on to the CIS scene last year, winning the Canada West Rookie of the Year award and being named both a CIS All-Canadian and CIS Championship All-Star.

Selection for the Hong Kong tournament has been a process unrivaled in the history of Canadian women's rugby. Having assembled talent from Europe, the national club scene, as well as the Canadian university game, twenty committed athletes have spent months working on their speed, fitness and skill at Rugby Canada's Centre of Excellence in Langford, British Columbia. The Canadian coaching staff has been able to gather an unprecedented amount of data on their players and have had the opportunity to witness athletes in head-to-head competition for extended periods of time. Funding from the Canadian government's "Own The Podium" program has meant that Canada's sevens stars are benefitting from the tools necessary to maintain their status as the world's number one team. Such funding enabled opportunities like the recent clinic put on at the C.O.E. in Langford by legendary New Zealand kicking coach Mick "The Kick" Byrne.