CANADA IS 2-0 AT THE 2010 WOMEN'S RUGBY WORLD CUP AND CURRENTLY SITS ATOP POOL C. THE NSWT WILL NOW FACE FRANCE ON SATURDAY AND EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MATCH IS HEAVILY WEIGHTED: CANADA HAS BEEN RANKED FOURTH FOR THE LAST THREE WORLD CUPS, AND THE LAST TWO HAVE BEEN BECAUSE OF THIRD-RANKED FRANCE.
CANADA RECENTLY BEAT FRANCE IN PARIS IN NOVEMBER, MAKING A WIN ON SATURDAY ENTIRELY POSSIBLE, AND WOULD CEMENT THEIR PLACE IN THE WORLD CUP SEMI-FINALS.
Canada’s National Senior Women’s Rugby Team has announced its lineup for its biggest match in four years. On Saturday, the NSWT will face France, a nation they have a long and sour history with.
Canada owes its current fourth-place ranking to the Europeans as they finished behind third-ranked France at both the 2006 and 2002 World Cups.
The two rivals most recently squared off twice in November, splitting the series one and one. The Canadians were victorious in Dijon, but then fell to les Bleus in Paris at Stade de France.
Ironically, the IRB announced the 2010 World Cup pools the same day Canada beat France, adding weight to the already important win.
At the 2010 World Cup, against the same two opponents, Canada has put up 77 points and allowed 20 whereas have France scored just 32 points, but only conceded 16.
It has been argued that France have been saving their big guns for the big games, and with the fate of every team currently ranked fifth or lower depending on this one match, 'big game' becomes an understatement.
Gillian Florence is at her fifth World Cup and so she was on the last two squads that lost to France in the bronze medal match. She says Saturday's game has magnitude at both a personal and team level.
“Obviously this game is really important to me. France has seemed to be our nemesis the last few World Cups. Having the opportunity to meet France in pool play is huge, but whether it’s France or any other team, this is a must-win for us because it will put us in a good position for the semi-finals. The fact that it is France is another dimension to it, but we’re really trying to focus on us and not to think about the past.”
The Women’s Rugby World Cup is condensed and sees all of the competing nations dealing with short three or four day turnarounds. Florence says Canada is feeling fit and healthy after two tests, and is ready for whatever France throws their way.
“We’ve come away from two games at the international World Cup level injury free which is a testament to our conditioning and our preparation leading up to this. I feel rested, I feel good, and most of [my] teammates feel the same. We’ve recovered really well with this quick turnaround. We’re ready to take them on, best team or not.”
Canada kicks off against France on Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 2.15pm BST at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.
2010 World Cup Notes:
• The NSWT has two names on the scoring race: flyhalf Anna Schnell is second in total points scored with 22, and 2006 World Cup leading try scorer Heather Moyse is at it again, tied for first with four tries.
• New Zealand, England, Canada and France are the only unbeaten sides now after two rounds of the pool stages. The top four teams make it to the semi-final for a chance to play for the World Cup.
Canada v France – 2010 WORLD CUP – Saturday August 28, 2010 - 2.15pm BST – London, England
1. Leslie Cripps *Captain 2. Lesley McKenzie 3. Corinne Jacobsen 4. Megan Gibbs 5. Paige Burdett Knauf 6. Barbara Mervin 7. Gillian Florence 8. Kelly Russell 9. Julia Sugawara 10. Anna Schnell 11. Maria Gallo *Vice-captain 12. Sarah Ulmer 13. Mandy Marchak 14. Heather Moyse 15. Ashley Pazter 16. Tabitha Stavrou 17. Ashley MacDonald 18. Heather Jaques 19. Jen Kish 20. Laura Stoughton 21. Brooke Hilditch 22. Cheryl Phillips
Canada NSWT Coaching Staff
John Long Head Coach
Kris de Scossa Assistant Coach
Paul Balsom Strength & Conditioning
Kristy Martin Hale Program Manager
Dr. Rosalind Mullins Physician
Jean (Shaw) Soleyn Athletic Therapist
Melody Lee Massage Therapist
Meghan Mutrie Communications