Young Canadian women's rugby side named for three-match tour of England

TORONTO - Canadian interim women's rugby coach Sandro Fiorino is taking a young squad featuring 16 uncapped players to England for a three match series against England.

His 27-woman travelling roster includes just seven members — Emily Belchos, Tyson Beukeboom, Olivia DeMerchant, Brittany Kassil, Brianna Miller, Cindy Nelles and Laura Russell — of the team that finished fifth at the Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland in August.

"This tour marks the beginning of a new cycle for our women’s program and will give many young players their first international test match experience against the world No. 2-ranked team," Fiorino said in a statement.

Fiorino's squad also includes four other players who have won caps for Canada: Fabiola Forteza, Anais Holly, Jess Neilson and Emma Taylor.

Several veterans have taken time off from the national team or have moved on.

Captain Kelly Russell and Amanda Thornborough, meanwhile, are set to make history as part of the first-ever Barbarians women's team, set to play Munster at Ireland's Thomond Park on Nov. 10. Karen Paquin has been trying her hand at bobsled.

Canada, ranked fourth in the world, leaves for London on Nov. 13 with matches slated for Nov, 17, 21 and 25. The series finale is at Twickenham Stadium, following the England-Samoa men's test match.

Fiorino's coaching staff on tour includes under-20 women's coach Jen Boyd and under-18 forwards coach Duncan McNaughton.

England and Canada have met 25 times, with Canada winning just four of those games. England won the most recent meeting 27-20 in June at the International women’s Rugby Series in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Canada Roster

Sam Alli, Barrhaven Scottish, Caledon, Ont.; Emily Barber, Aurora Barbarians, Toronto; Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC, Innisfil, Ont.; Dria Bennett, Ottawa Irish, Ottawa; Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC, Uxbridge, Ont.; Olivia De Merchant, Woodstock Wildmen, Mapledale, N.B.; Alexandria Ellis, Barrhaven Scottish, Ottawa; Paige Farries, Westshore RFC, Red Deer, Alta.; Fabiola Forteza, Club de Rugby de Quebec, Quebec City; Ngalula Fuamba, Town of Mount Royal, Notre Dame-de-l'il-Perrot, Que.; Veronica Harrigan, London St Georges, Lucan, Ont,.; Anais Holly, TMRRFC, Montreal; Courtney Holtkamp, Red Deer Titans, Rimbey, Alta.; McKinley Hunt, Aurora Barbarians, King City, Ont.; Emmanuela Jada, Guelph Redcoats Guelph, Ont.; Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats, Guelph, Ont.; Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC, Pointe-Claire, Que.; Jess Neilson, Castaway Wanderers, Victoria; Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs, Belleville, Ont.; Emily Nicholl, Guelph Redcoats, Toronto; Justine Pelletier, Club de Rugby de Quebec, Quebec City; Nadia Popov, Aurora Barbarians, Newmarket, Ont.; Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads, Cowichan RFC, Bolton, Ont.; Janna Slevinsky, Calgary Saracens, St. Albert, Alta.; Sara Svoboda, Toronto Saracens, Belleville, Ont,; Emma Taylor, Railway Union, Scotsburn, N.S.; Emily Tuttosi, Calgary Hornets, Souris, Man.

Non-travelling reserves:

Chanelle Edwards-Challenger, Castaway Wanderers, Calgary; Colleen Irowa, Toronto Saracens, Toronto; Chelsey Minter, Westshore RFC, Victoria; Elysa Sandron, Calgary Hornets, Winnipeg; Gabrielle Senft, Castaway Wanderers, Regina; Julia Schell, Guelph Redcoats, Uxbridge, Ont.; Daria Keane, Guelph Redcoats, Sarnia, Ont.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter


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