Via Rugby Canada …
CAN-AM TEAM NAMED TO FACE USA IN MINNESOTA
August 09, 2007
By Stacy Malloch for Rugby Canada
Canada National Senior Women’s Team Head Coach Quentin Fyffe and his staff have named a squad of 30 players who will travel to Blaine, Minnesota to compete in the Can-Am tournament later this month. The squad will play two matches against their American counterparts on August 27th and 29th.
The Can-Am games will provide an opportunity for Fyffe, who was appointed head coach of the program in April, to see his players compete against some stringent US opponents. Player performances in this event will prove crucial in Fyffe’s selections for his team that will travel to the United Kingdom in November 2007.
As for expectations, Fyffe will be looking for players who can deliver exceptional performances game in and game out. “Players will be selected for November based on form and consistency of play,” says Fyffe.
The tournament follows the NWL final on August 18th and the program’s training and selection camp from August 20th-23rd at UBC. As a result, Fyffe and his staff will see upwards of 40 athletes competing for a spot in the program during the month of August.
“The Can-Am series will allow some flexibility in looking at different combinations and hopefully starting a different team for each game, giving players ample opportunity to showcase their skills and ability to fit into team dynamics.”
Each year, this competition provides valuable experience to programs in developing athletes and expanding player pools.
“It is important that we work together with our neighbors to the south, who are our most economical resource. We will be working in conjunction with the US to hopefully expand the tournament to include a broader spectrum of athletes in 2008,” explains Fyffe.
CANADA ROSTER TO FACE USA
(Name, Based In)
Leslie Cripps, United Kingdom
Lesley McKenzie, British Columbia
Marlene Donaldson, British Columbia
Dawn MacDonald, British Columbia
Marie-Eve Brindamour-Carignan, New Zealand
Gillian Florence, Quebec
Jennifer Kish, Alberta
Katie Murray, Alberta
Kim Donaldson, British Columbia
Natalie Bendavid, Ontario
Heather McDonald, Alberta
Paige Burdett, Alberta
Megan Gibbs, Ontario
Barbara Mervin, British Columbia
Heather Jaques, British Columbia
Kelly Russell, Ontario
(Name, Based In)
Laura Stoughton, Alberta
Ashley Patzer, Alberta
Sarah Ulmer, United Kingdom
Mandy Marchak, British Columbia
Maria Gallo, Alberta
Rosie Cobbett, British Columbia
Julianne Zussman, Quebec
Julia Sugawara, British Columbia
Meaghan Howat, Ontario
Marie-Josee Blais, Quebec
Brooke Hilditch, Ontario
Heather Moyse, Ontario
Cheryl Phillips, Ontario
Megan Mutrie, British Columbia
Canada returns 13 players from the 2006 World Cup to face a U.S. team with four returning World Cup players and new faces/talents.
Goff interviewed Ham, aka Kristen “Ham” Zdanczewicz, one of the World Cup returnees and flanker for the Minnesota Valkyries (and formerly, Wisconsin!) about being looked to as a leader for these matches (subscription needed):
The first assembly of this group, then will be about learning about each other as much as anything else, and Zdanczewicz wants players to keep it all in perspective.
“There’s more to it than just going out there and beating your opponent,” she said. “We need to be gaining experience and learning what it’s like to play an international game – a higher level game. It’s about challenging yourself not only physically but mentally and strategically. We’re three years away from another World Cup and we want to work on what Canada are going tactically on the field, because we want to figure out how to beat this team. We beat them once in Boulder last June, but we dropped the second game, and we can learn from that.”
And he’s also interviewed US Women’s National Team Head Coach Kathy Flores about the expanse of new faces in the Eagle player pool for the Can-Am games (subscription required) …
The players she has picked are, for the most part, uncapped. Now is the time to get them international experience and formulate a new pool of players targeting 2010.
“It is a very new squad with lots of new enthusiasm,” said Flores. “As with any new cycle we are looking for the next set of players to step up to the plate. It will be quite an experience for players new to the international scene. The pace of the game can be unbelievable to those who have never experienced any type of international play, so there will be quite the learning curve. However, we do have players not only returning from World Cup competition, but also National U23 players that have experienced international competition and we are anticipating a strong learning curve for them. Our expectations are for the players to grow and learn at every opportunity – with this being just the beginning.”
I look forward to seeing some new talents emerge for our national team, especially from the Midwest.