Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada

Rugby Canada, in partnership with Canadian Olympic Committee, is pleased to announce its 12 athletes and staff that have been nominated to represent Canada at the inaugural rugby sevens competition at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Edmonton’s Jen Kish will captain a side that also features Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams.

“I’m excited about the team we’ve assembled for the Rio Olympics as we take part in the historic debut of rugby sevens,” Head Coach John Tait said. “We’re looking forward to building off of our recent success, playing on the world’s biggest stage and making our country proud.”

Four provinces are represented in Canada’s 12-player team with six players from Ontario, three from Quebec, two from Alberta and one from British Columbia.

“The whole team is so excited to represent Canada in this historic event,” Kish said. “We cannot wait to hit the field in Rio and represent our country with the entire world watching.”

Nine members of Canada’s gold winning team at the 2015 Pan-Am Games are included in the historic first Canadian Women’s Rugby Sevens Olympic squad in Benn, Darling, Kish, Landry, Moleschi, Paquin, Russell, Steacy and Watcham-Roy.

Canada sealed its spot in the inaugural Olympics rugby sevens event courtesy of a second place finish on the 2014-15 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series, the best season finish in program history. Canada clinched its Olympics spot at the Amsterdam Sevens — the final event of the season schedule — a tournament they would go on to win to claim its first ever HSBC Women’s Sevens Series cup title.

After winning gold at last year’s Pan-Am Games in Toronto, Canada finished third on the 2015-16 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series and concluded the season with a
cup win at the inaugural Clermont Sevens, the second in program history.

Landry, who led the season in points scoring with 158, was named to the World Rugby HSBC Women’s Sevens Series Season Dream Team.

Canada is 81-35-4 all-time in the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series with two Cup Titles while averaging 20.99 points per game.

Canada will continue its pre-Olympic preparations on Vancouver Island at Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence as well as the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE). On July 26th, an Olympic Media Celebration and RIO Send Off will take place at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto from 12pm – 1pm. Media are welcome to attend the event on the 26th.

The women’s rugby sevens event takes place at Deodoro Stadium from August 6-8.

Broadcast details for the rugby sevens event at the 2016 Rio Olympics will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Canada’s Roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics (Name, club, hometown):

Britt Benn – (Guelph Redcoats) Napanee, ON
Hannah Darling – (Peterborough Pagans) Warsaw, ON
Bianca Farella – (Town of Mont Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
Jen Kish – (Edmonton Rockers) Edmonton, AB
Ghislaine Landry – (Toronto Scottish) Toronto, ON
Megan Lukan – (Unattached) Barrie, ON
Kayla Moleschi – (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC
Karen Paquin – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Kelly Russell – (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Ashley Steacy – (Lethbridge Rugby Club), Lethbridge, AB
Natasha Watcham-Roy – (Hull Volant) Gatineau, QC
Charity Williams – (Markham Irish) Toronto, ON

Canada’s Coaching Staff:

Meaghan Howat – Manager
John Tait – Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino – Assistant Coach
Sandeep Nandhra – Athletic Therapist
Matt Tyler – Athletic Therapist
Tyler Goodale – Strength & Conditioning
Callum Morris – Analyst
Mental Performance Coach – Kirsten Barnes

Canada’s 2016 Rio Olympics Schedule:

Day 1 – August 6

Canada vs. Japan – 11:30am ET/8:30am PT
Canada vs. Brazil – 4:30pm ET/1:30pm PT

Day 2 – August 7

Canada vs. Great Britain – 11:30am ET/8:30am PT

About Rugby Canada

Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada. Rugby Football has a long history in Canada dating back to its initial appearance in the 1860s. Since 1974, Rugby Canada has been a permanent fixture on the global rugby scene, including trips to each of the eight Men’s Rugby World Cups and seven Women’s Rugby World Cups. As a regular on the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Canada continues to climb the world rankings and challenge the dominant rugby nations in both versions of the game.

To support the growth of rugby at the grass-roots level and to ensure there are elite programs for prospering young rugby players to become involved with, Rugby Canada has put an emphasis on developing its junior programs. Our goal is to develop and train competitive teams for the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan respectively, the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in USA and 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/RugbyCanada
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Website: www.rugbycanada.ca

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