Rugby Women's Sevens team

© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News

Olympic royalty was on hand this morning as the Women’s Rugby Sevens Team was announced for Rio 2016. Two-time Olympians, rower Adam Kreek and wrestler, Carol Huynh alongside Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, greeted the 12 players chosen to represent Canada next month – the first time Rugby Sevens has been in the Olympics.

Jen Kish, Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams, make up the side representing four provinces. Notably absent was Magali Harvey – Women’s Rugby poster girl and 2014 IRB Women’s Player of the Year. Asked why she was left off the team, head coach John Tait said, “Team selection is based on who performs the best.”

Edmonton’s Kish will captain the team. “The opportunity to lead is a huge honour and privilege,” she said. “We will see 12 dreams come true and want to inspire young athletes to keep chasing their dreams. We want to thank Canada for this honour and for building a legacy.”

Landry making a young fan's day
Landry making a young fan’s day

Landry, who is the team’s top points’ scorer at 575, including 74 tries and 101 conversions, calls the team a family. “We go through the good, bad, ugly and emotional and spend more time with each other than our families.”

For Steacy being named to the team was very emotional. Coming back from a knee injury has been difficult. “It has been a challenging year, but all the support I have received has been amazing.”

Coach Tait said that they are ready for the Olympics, despite a lot of injuries early in the year. “In France we proved we could play under pressure and we will take that to Rio. We also have seven girls who won the World Cup and who know elation and disappointment. Their work ethic and dedication is fantastic and they know how to raise the standard of the game.”

The Women’s Rugby Sevens takes August 6-8. They play Japan and Brazil on the 6th and Great Britain on the 7th, with the finalists going through to play on August 8.