Canadian women focused on RWC Sevens target

(IRB.COM) Friday 24 August 2012  
 
 Canadian women focused on RWC Sevens target
Canada's women have enjoyed success on the international stage, winning the IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup in Dubai last year

Canada have vowed to come out “all guns blazing” at the NACRA (North American Caribbean Rugby Association) Sevens 2012 on home soil in Ottawa this weekend to realise their target of qualifying for Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow.

The Canadians are the top seeds in the five-team tournament, which also features Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico and Cayman Islands, and as one of the best women’s Sevens sides in the world will be favourite to join automatic qualifiers USA in the Russian capital next June.

Jen Kish will captain a Canadian side featuring five new players amid experienced players like Ottawa local Julianne Zussman as they seek to successfully defend the regional title won by the Canadian Maple Leafs with victory over Jamaica.

“I am very confident in the girls that I will be leading and the Canadian fans will not be disappointed with our performance when we take the field,” admitted Kish ahead of the tournament, which runs alongside the men’s event, at Twin Elm Rugby Park.

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“We have been training very hard for this tournament and will come out guns blazing. With that being said, we will not and do not take any team lightly no matter who they are. We treat each match as if it were a championship match.”

Canada’s women will kick off their campaign against Mexico at 10:20 local time on Saturday, before taking on Cayman Islands and Jamaica. They will then open proceedings on Sunday at 09:20 against Trinidad & Tobago with semi finals and the final at 16:20 to come.

Showcasing Rugby Sevens

“This tournament is really exciting for us on a lot of levels,” added coach John Tait. “This is our opportunity to qualify for the Sevens World Cup next year, and we have to come first in order to go to Moscow next June and fulfil our goal of winning a World Cup.

“We have a team eager to go and show that we have a world-class programme with dedicated athletes and staff that are really proud to represent Canada and being able to do this on home soil for the first time ever is huge for us.

“Our team has five new caps but is still full of experience and is perhaps the fastest team we have fielded to date. We are going to play an up tempo game and hopefully show the fans why Sevens is growing around the world so fast.”

The NACRA Sevens is the third regional tournament in the qualifying process for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 which will fill the 11 spots remaining after inaugural champions Australia, runners-up New Zealand, South Africa, USA and 2013 hosts Russia qualified automatically.

England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Ireland negotiated the European qualifier in July to book their tickets to Moscow, while Fiji were the best placed team behind New Zealand and Australia at the Oceania Sevens earlier this month and now progress to the Asian qualifier.

After the NACRA Sevens, the remaining places will be filled through the Africa qualifier in Morocco on 29-30 September (one place), Asia in India on 6-7 October (three places) and South America in Brazil (one place) on 23-24 February 2013.

NACRA Women's Sevens

Day one - Saturday 25 August

10:20 - Canada v Mexico
10:40 - Jamaica v Cayman Islands
13:10 - Canada v Cayman Islands
13:30 - Jamaica v Trinidad & Tobago
16:00 - Canada v Jamaica
16:20 - Trinidad & Tobago v Mexico

Day two - Sunday 26 August

09:20 - Canada v Trinidad & Tobago
09:40 - Mexico v Cayman Islands
11:50 - Jamaica v Mexico
12:10 - Cayman Islands v Trinidad & Tobago
14:40 - Semi final - 2nd v 3rd in pool
15:00 - Semi final - 1st v 4th in pool
16:20 - Final

Rugby Canada in partnership with Rogers TV Ottawa will be offering a local television broadcast – airing at 15:00 and 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday on local Rogers TV stations – as well as streaming all of the NACRA Sevens matches live on www.livestream.com/nacrarugby. (Matches will be geo-blocked in the Ontario region until the conclusion of the day two television broadcast).