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Rugby Canada – DUBLIN, IRELAND (August 8, 2017) – Canada’s Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has announced his starting roster for Wednesday’s test match against Hong Kong to open the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Ireland.

Leading the charge from the number 8 position is Captain Kelly Russell of Bolton, Ontario, who’s winning her 49th test match for Canada. In the front row, Canada will be bolstered by Carolyn McEwen, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin, with Kayla Mack and Latoya Blackwood in the second row. 

Canada’s backrow remains consistent with Russell flanked by Jacey Grusnick and Karen Paquin.

Scrumhalf Lori Josephson makes her World Cup debut starting alongside 2014 WRWC  stalwart Emily Belchos at flyhalf. In the centres, Canada boasts a consistent blend of experience and youth, as 33 cap veteran Andrea Burk slots in beside WRWC rookie Alex Tessier. 

An all-French Canadian back three is lead by Elissa Alarie at fullback, with Magali Harvey and Frederique Rajotte on the wings. Ranked 3rd in World Rugby rankings, Ratier’s side enters the competition with high hopes and plans to use the Hong Kong test to start their campaign off positively. 

Wednesday’s clash with Canada marks the first-ever game for Hong Kong, ranked 23rd in the world, at the World Cup. Canada and Hong Kong have never met in international test rugby. 

Kick off is set for 12pm ET/9am PT on Wednesday and you can watch live on TSN/RDS. 

What flyhalf Emily Belchos said:

“We arrived in Ireland two weeks ago and had our pre-tournament camp outside of the city at Johnstown Estate and it’s been going well. Our team is really connected and we’re excited to get our campaign underway on Wednesday.

“We have a large group of returning players from the last World Cup in 2014 so it’s a confident environment because a lot of us have been here before. We don’t know very much about Hong Kong, so we’re just trying to focus on our performance and, if we play our game we should be successful on Wednesday,”


What winger Frederique Rajotte said:

“We want to set the pace for our World Cup starting on Wednesday against Hong Kong; we’ve been training hard over the last two weeks in Ireland we’re all excited to get underway. 

“For me to be here representing my country at the World Cup in Ireland it’s a dream come true. If you asked me two years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be here, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity!”


Canada’s Roster to face Hong Kong:

1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)

2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)

3. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)

4. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)

5. Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)

6. Jacey Grusnick, Barrhaven Scottish (Alliston, ON)

7. Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers (Quebec City, QC)

8. Kelly Russell, Captain, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)

9. Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON)

10. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)

11. Frederique Rajotte, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Montreal, QC) 

12. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)

13. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC) 

14. Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby de Quebec (Quebec City, QC)

15. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)

16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)

17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON) 

18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)

19. Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON)

20. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON) 

21. Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC) 

22. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)

23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)


2017 WRWC Staff:

Francois Ratier- Head Coach

Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach

Gary Dukelow – Assistant Coach

Colette McAuley- Technical Support

Nicole Crowley- Manager

Shannon Houston – Team Doctor

Brad Curry – Physiotherapist

Jamie McCartney – Strength & Conditioning

Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist

James Kent- Analyst

Bryan Kelly – Media Manager

Meaghan Howat – Director

Canada’s Women’s Team’s Media guide can be found here:


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. Canada’s Women’s Rugby Sevens Team also made history in 2016, capturing the first-ever Bronze Medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, the 2018 Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup in Japan and 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

For more information:
Bryan Kelly 
Manager, Communications and Media Relations  
Rugby Canada  
Tel. 250.418.8998 ext. 314  
Cell. 250.216.5272