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May 7, 2024 | Rugby (W)

Twelve U SPORTS players added to FISU women's rugby team

(Langford, BC U SPORTS) - Twelve U SPORTS women’s rugby players, supported by Rugby Canada’s Maple Leaf Academy, will represent Canada at the 2024 FISU World University Championship Rugby Sevens in Aix-en-Provence, France over June 10 to 12.

Canada will compete alongside Australia, France, South Africa, Ireland, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Poland and India at Maurice David Stadium. This will mark the first time the tournament has been held since 2018, and the first time Canada has competed in the tournament since 2016. Canada has five women’s rugby sevens FISU World University Championship medals, three gold (2004, 2006, 2014) and two silver (2008, 2016).

Prior to the FISU World University Championship, the team will compete in EAAST 7s, an elite international tournament in Haguenau, France from June 1 to 2 that will also feature development teams from nations such as Australia, New Zealand and France.

“This June we have an exciting opportunity for 12 U SPORTS players to compete on the international stage, a valuable experience as they continue to develop as high performance players and move along the pathway towards our senior national teams,” said Iain Monaghan, Head Coach of the Maple Leaf Academy. “The EAAST 7s tournament is a chance to test ourselves against top nations in preparation for the FISU World University Championships, and we’re looking forward to representing Canada in France and seeing these players continue to grow and challenge themselves.”

The Maple Leaf Academy kicked off the 2024 season in late March in Chula Vista, California, with matches against the United States’ women’s sevens development squad. These matches, along with support from the provincial U SPORTS rugby leads, aided in the selection process for the FISU World University Championship. Additionally, Monaghan, along with Jack Hanratty, Head Coach of Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team, attended the 2024 Canadian University Women’s Rugby 7s National Championships in March in Montreal as part of the identification and selection process.

Named to the squad are two U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Player of the Year award recipients, Savannah Bauder (2023) and Lizzie Gibson (2022), while Larah Wright received the 2021 U SPORTS Rookie of the Year honours. Bauder and Gibson are also two of four players on the squad who competed with Canada’s U23 Women’s Rugby Team last summer, the others being Emily Clark and Carmen Izyk.

Mahalia Robinson brings senior international experience to the squad, having earned her first cap for Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team in 2023 against South Africa. Robinson is currently on tour with the national team for the 2024 Pacific Four Series and played in Canada’s opening 50-7 win over the United States.

Adia Pye competed in an international sevens competition last summer as well, having been part of Canada’s U18 silver medal 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games squad.

CANADA’S WOMEN’S SEVENS ROSTER 2024 FISU World University Championship

  • Adia Pye (Victoria, BC) - University of British Columbia
  • Angie Olukunmi (Calgary, AB) – University of Calgary
  • Carmen Izyk (Blackie, AB) – Queen's University
  • Lizzie Gibson (Caledon, ON) – Queen's University
  • Emily Clark (Mississauga, ON) – University of Guelph
  • Emma Lajeunesse (Quebec City, QC) - Université Laval
  • Kennedy Feasby (Port Perry, ON) – University of Guelph
  • Larah Wright (Calgary, AB) – University of Victoria
  • Mahalia Robinson (Fulford, QC) – Concordia University
  • Olivia Sarabura (Guelph, ON) – University of British Columbia
  • Savannah Bauder (North Vancouver, BC) – University of British Columbia
  • Vanessa Chiappetta (Riguad, QC) – Carleton University