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Canada Women's Sevens strengthen squad for Amsterdam

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wsws.irb.com     13 May 2014     Getty Images

Landry missed the China round after picking up an injury in the invitational tournament in Hong Kong the week before and replaces Jessica Dovanne, while Elissa Alarie and Paige Farries come back in as a result of injuries to Hannah Darling and Ashley Steacy.

A newcomer to the Canada Sevens squad is Kayla Mack, although she is a regular in the Fifteens side. Mack, who has previously been part of Rugby Canada’s centralised programme, has impressed coach John Tait enough for him to give her a chance in Amsterdam.

“When I saw how much faster and fitter she has become, along with her range in defence and support on attack, I decided that if she trialled well enough that taking her to Amsterdam will give us an opportunity to see if she is going to push for further selections and possibly come back into our centralised program,” explained Tait.

“She is not the first player we have selected for a Series tournament from outside a current centralised programme. It is reminder that just because you have been selected for the funding and training support, there are others outside the programme desperate for these opportunities.”

With Canada 18 points clear of England in third going into the Amsterdam Sevens the question of Tait selecting a younger team to give them experience before heading into the Olympic qualifying campaign next season was raised, but the desire to finish on a high won out.

“We discussed that as a staff and while it would have been nice to get some of the younger players with little to no Series experience more exposure, our top players need those minutes just as much,” explained Tait.

“We want to finish the season strong with a solid performance and win a Cup final.”

Canada are the only team other than Australia and New Zealand to have reached a Cup final this season – losing to New Zealand in Atlanta in February – and will begin their Amsterdam challenge with pool matches against England, Brazil and their hosts.

Canada Women’s Sevens squad: Elissa Alarie, Bianca Farella, Paige Farries, Julia Greenshields, Sara Kaljuvee, Jen Kish (captain), Ghislaine Landry, Kayla Mack, Mandy Marchak, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell.