Canada coach Kevin Rouet has named four uncapped players in his 32-woman roster for test matches later this month against top-ranked England.
Caroline Crossley, Julia Omokhuale, Krissy Scurfield and Ashlynn Smith could all make their 15s debut for Canada.
There is also a recall for Magali Harvey, World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in 2014. The 33-year-old back, who recently signed with France’s Stade Bordelais, last played for the Canadian 15s team in November 2018 against Wales.
Fourth-ranked Canada meets England on Sept. 23 at Sandy Park, home of the Exeter Chiefs, and Sept. 30 at London's StoneX Stadium, home of Saracens.
The venues will be familiar to nine of the Canadian tour roster including three Exeter Chiefs (DaLeaka Menin, Emily Tuttosi, Alexandra Tessier) and three Saracens (Alex Ellis, McKinley Hunt, Sophie de Goede).
The other England-based players are Paige Farries (Worcester Warriors), Sara Svoboda (Loughborough Lightning) and Tyson Beukeboom (Ealing Trailfinders).
The England games are warmups for October's WXV, a new three-tier annual women’s 15s competition that will see the Canadians face No. 3 France and No. 6 Wales in a top division that also features England, Australia and host New Zealand.
Canada qualified for the WXV by finishing runner-up to No. 2 New Zealand in the Pacific Four Series, wrapping up play in July in Ottawa with a 45-7 win over No. 5 Australia and a 52-21 loss to the world champion Black Ferns
“These two test matches against England are very important in our preparation for WXV and the 2025 Rugby World Cup,” Rouet said in a statement. “Since last having the team together in Ottawa for the Pacific Four Series, we have had a number of players integrated with the sevens program in Langford and many preparing for seasons abroad in England and France. We are greatly looking forward to regrouping once again for what will be two challenging, top-level matches.”
Scurfield is one of seven players who took part in the recent Olympic qualifier in Langford, B.C., The Canadian women won that event to book their ticket to Paris next year. Crossley is also a veteran of the sevens program.
Omokhuale took part in Canada’s training camp ahead of the Pacific Four Series before playing for the under-23 side against the U.S. Smith was part of Canada's squad in Ottawa but did not dress.
Rugby Canada says six players are unavailable for the tour including the injured Cassandra Tuffnail, Maya Montiel and Pamphinette Buisa.
The Canadian women lost 26-19 in November when they faced England in the Women's World Cup semifinal in New Zealand before falling 36-0 to France in the third-place game.
Canada Women's Rugby Tour Roster
Alexandria Ellis, Ottawa, Saracens (England); Ashlynn Smith, Abbotsford, B.C., University of Calgary; Caroline Crossley, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers; Courtney Holtkamp, Rimbey, Alta., Red Deer Titans Rugby; DaLeaka Menin, Vulcan, Alta., Exeter Chiefs (England); Emily Tuttosi, Souris, Man., Exeter Chiefs (England); Fabiola Forteza, Quebec City, Stade Bordelais (France); Gabrielle Senft, Regina, Castaway Wanderers; Gillian Boag, Calgary, Capilano RFC; Julia Omokhuale, Calgary, University of Calgary; Laetitia Royer, Loretteville, Que., ASM Romagnat (France); McKinley Hunt, King City, Ont., Saracens (England); Mikiela Nelson, North Vancouver, Capilano Rugby; Olivia DeMerchant, Mapledale, N.B., Halifax Tars RFC; Sara Cline, Edmonton, Leprechaun Tigers; Sara Svoboda, Belleville, Ont., Loughborough Lightning (England); Sophie de Goede, Victoria, Saracens (England); Tyson Beukeboom, Uxbridge, Ont., Ealing Trailfinders (England).
Alexandra Tessier, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, Que., Exeter Chiefs (England); Claire Gallagher, Caledon, Ont., University of Ottawa; Fancy Bermudez, Edmonton, Westshore RFC; Florence Symonds, Hong Kong, UBC; Justine Pelletier, Riviere-du-Loup, Que., Stade Bordelais (France); Krissy Scurfield, Canmore, Alta., University of Victoria; Madison Grant, Cornwall, Ont., Cornwall Claymores; Magali Harvey, Quebec City, Stade Bordelais (France); Olivia Apps, Lindsay, Ont., Lindsay RFC; Paige Farries, Red Deer, Alta., Worcester Warriors (England); Sabrina Poulin, St-Georges, Que., Eibar Rugby Taldea (Spain); Sarah-Maude Lachance, Victoriaville, Que., Lons Section Paloise (France); Shoshanah Seumanutafa, White Rock, B.C., UBC; Taylor Perry, Oakville, Ont., Oakville Crusaders.
Abby Duguid, Edmonton, University of Lethbridge; Alysha Corrigan, Charlottetown, CRFC; Brittany Kassil, Guelph, Ont., Guelph Redcoats; Chloe Daniels, Sutton, Ont., Queen’s University; Corinne Frechette, Saint-Zephirin-de-Courval, Que., Universite Laval; Emma Taylor, Scotsburn, N.S., Saracens (England); Holly Phillips, Canmore, Alta., Bristol Bears (England); Julia Schell, Uxbridge, Ont., Ealing Trailfinders (England); Mahalia Robinson, Fulford, Que., Concordia University; Mya Brubacher, West Montrose, Ont., Queen’s University.
Unavailable for selection
Brianna Miller, Cassandra Tuffnail, Karen Paquin, Maya Montiel, Pamphinette Buisa, Sara Kaljuvee.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 6, 2023
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press