OIRC's Irene Patrinos and Pam Buisa Centralized for Women's Sevens
Twenty-five women’s sevens players have been centralized ahead of the 2016-17 HSBC Women’s Sevens Season.
The squad features a mix of experience and youth that will be led once again by John Tait.
“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 together as a group,” Tait said. “The program 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 7s teams coming through and providing us with some quality depth within this new centralized group.”
Fifteen players have previous experience on the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series in Britt Benn, Caroline Crossley, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Julia Greenshields, Emmanuela Jada, Sara Kaljuvee, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Breanne Nicholas, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams.
The rest of the squad features a number of Canada’s next generation in Olivia Apps, Pamphinette Buisa, Emma Chown, Sophie de Goede, Ashley Gordon, Kaili Lukan, Irene Patrinos, Denise Roy, Erika Scott and Tia Svoboda.
“We are a much more skilled and physically talented group than where we started the last quad and it is absolutely necessary to keep the top development players training and accessing the support of our centralized program,” Tait said.
“The returning players will enhance the skill sets and game understanding of our development players by training alongside them and my expectation is that those development athletes will in turn push those senior players for selection in the years ahead.”
Canada is coming off of the most successful period in program history, highlighted by its memorable bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics after a 33-10 win over Great Britain made history for the sport of rugby in Canada and globally.
In the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series’ four-year history, Canada has achieved three third place finishes in addition to a second place finish during the 2014-15 season. Canada has also won two cup titles (Amsterdam, 2015, Clermont, 2016) and is the defending Pan-Am Games gold medallist (Toronto, 2015).
In Canada’s 15 returning players, they have a combined 127 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series appearances. Landry’s 575 career points are second all-time while her 74 tries rank fourth.
“It’s very exciting to be looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 and the start of the next quad,” said Meaghan Howat, Rugby Canada’s Director of Rugby Sevens Operations. “We are delighted to have so many returning players from last season and looking forward to working with the new athletes joining the program and how they will develop over the coming years.
“It’s also important to thank our funding partners Sport Canada, Own the Podium and B2Ten for all of their continued support of our program. Additionally, the City of Langford and PISE continue to be critical supporters of our program and we’re extremely grateful for their support.”
For the third straight year, Canada will also return home for Canada Sevens as Vancouver Island will play host to the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series May 27-28.
-Rugby Canada files
-photo of OIRC women 2015, courtesy of Jane Chen (Pam Buisa not pictured)