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Island strong in Canadian women’s rugby roster chosen for New Zealand showdown

Two Cowichan and two Victoria players on Langford-picked squad headed to Pacific Four Series
Canada’s Karen Paquin, center, is pursued by Brazil’s, from left, Mariana Nicolau, Luiza Campos, and Thalita da Silva Costa, as she runs on her way to scoring a try, in their women’s rugby sevens match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Shuji Kajiyama

Four Vancouver Island rugby players have survived boot camp in Langford and will be wearing the maple leaf next month in New Zealand.

Sophie de Goede and Gabrielle Senft of Victoria’s Castaway Wanderers and will join stalwart veterans Tyson Beukeboom and Laura Russell of Cowichan on Canada’s 32-woman rugby roster for next month’s Pacific Four Series.

The third-ranked Canadians will play the seventh-ranked U.S. in Tauranga before taking on No. 2 New Zealand on June 12 in Waitakere and No. 5 Australia on June 12 in Whangarei.

Head coach Kevin Rouet hosted a camp in Langford, last month, trimming his roster from 45 to 32 players who will make the trip to the June 5-18 tournament in New Zealand.

Rouet, a former Canadian assistant coach, replaced Sandro Fiorino as head coach in late March.

The training group will be the basis for squad selection for home test matches against No. 6 Italy on July 24 at Starlight Stadium in Langford and No. 9 Wales on Aug. 27 at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax, which will mark the team’s final matches on home soil ahead of the World Cup that opens Oct. 8 in New Zealand.

“The Pacific Four Series will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to test ourselves against some of the world’s best teams ahead of two home test matches in July and August,” Rouet said in a statement.

“Everyone has worked very hard to get to this point, but this is where things ramp up for what is set to be an incredible few months which will culminate with the World Cup in New Zealand. A possible total of 12 test matches between now and the end of the World Cup is a record for our senior women’s 15s team, showcasing incredible progress for the program and commitment from the athletes.”

Canada Pacific Four Series Roster

Abby Duguid, Edmonton, Loughborough Lightning (England); Alexandra Tessier, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, Que., Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC; Alex Ellis, Saracens (England); Alysha Corrigan, Charlottetown, Saracens (England); Anais Holly, Montreal, Town of Mont-Royal RFC; Brianna Miller, Pointe-Claire, Que., Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC; Brittany Kassil, Guelph, Ont., Guelph Redcoats; Chloe Daniels, Sutton, Ont., Aurora Barbarians; Courtney Holtkamp, Rimbey, Alta., Loughborough Lightning (England); DaLeaka Menin, Vulcan, Alta., Exeter Chiefs (England); Elissa Alarie, Trois-Rivieres, Que., Braves de TR; Emily Tuttosi, Souris, Man., Exeter Chiefs (England); Emma Taylor, Scotsburn, N.S., Saracens (England); Gabrielle Senft, Regina, Castaway Wanderers RFC; Justine Pelletier, Riviere-du-Loup, Que., Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais (France) Karen Paquin, Quebec City, Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais (France); Laura Russell, Bolton, Ont., Toronto Nomads; Maddy Grant, Cornwall, Ont., University of Ottawa; Maya Montiel, Dieppe, N.B., University of Ottawa; McKinley Hunt, King City, Ont., Exeter Chiefs (England); Mikiela Nelson, North Vancouver, Capilano Rugby; Olivia DeMerchant, Mapledale, N.B., Halifax Tars RFC; Paige Farries, Red Deer, Alta., Worcester Warriors (England); Pamphinette Buisa, Gatineau, Que., Ottawa Irish; Renee Gonzalez, Toronto, Westshore RFC; Sabrina Poulin, St-Georges, Que., Stade Rennais (France); Sara Kaljuvee, Ajax, Ont., Toronto Scottish; Sara Svoboda, Belleville, Ont., Loughborough Lightning (England); Sophie de Goede, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers RFC; Taylor Perry, Oakville, Ont., Oakville Crusaders; Tyson Beukeboom, Uxbridge, Ont., Cowichan RFC; Veronica Harrigan, Lucan, Ont., Brantford Harlequins.

Non-Travelling Reserves

Cindy Nelles, Belleville, Ont., University of Canterbury; Corinne Frechette, Saint-Zephirin de Courval, Que., Club de rugby de Quebec; Fabiola Forteza, Quebec City, Stade Bordelais (France); Gillian Boag, Calgary, Capilano RFC; Julia Schell, Uxbridge, Ont., Castaway Wanderers; Laetitia Royer, Loretteville, Que., Lons Section Paloise (France); Marie Thibault, Quebec City, Club de Rugby de Quebec; Ngalula Fuamba, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Que., Town of Mount Royal RFC; Nakisa Levale, Abbotsford, B.C., Abbotsford; Sarah-Maude Lachance, Victoriaville, Que., Lons Section Paloise (France).

—The Canadian Press

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