Women’s Rugby Sevens Super Series to be held in Salt Lake City

June 24, 2016

Women’s Rugby Sevens Super Series to be held in Salt Lake City


Photo: Rugby Utah

Doug Coil

The Women’s Super Series is being held in Salt Lake City and includes matches between Canada, England, France and the United States on July 1, 5 and 9, 2016. Rugby Utah, the state’s USA Rugby-sanctioned governing body for the sport, has partnered with USA Rugby and Utah Sports Commission to support the World Rugby-sanctioned Women’s Rugby Super Series as it comes to Utah.

Rugby Utah will take the lead in providing volunteers that will support the teams and the event.

Kimball Kjar, Rugby Utah’s High Performance Director said that “This is a marquee event that we’re excited to partner with. The Women’s Rugby Super Series is a great opportunity for the rugby community in Utah to engage with some of the world’s top women’s teams and to exhibit Utah’s unique and diverse rugby culture.”

This event takes place a month before the Olympics and will be the last chance for the players who have been playing XVs to stand out before the competition for the the World Cup next year really heats up.

In addition to the Super Series, the USA Junior All-Americans will play Canada’s Maple Leafs on the second and third day of the Series. A women’s age-grade Stars and Stripes Camp will be held alongside the Series and will serve as a selection vehicle to the USA Junior All-Americans.


Canada’s Head Coach Francois Ratier 26 player squad that includes 15 returning players from last year’s Super Series. Laura Russell will captain Canada’s senior team, while Latoya Blackwood, Tyson Beukeboom, Andrea Burk, Olivia DeMerchant, Chelsea Guthrie, Mary-Jane Kirby, Carolyn McEwen, DaLeaka Menin, Barbara Mervin, Katie McNally, Jacey Murphy, Alex Tessier, Brittany Waters and Julianne Zussman all return to the Series.

Anais Holly, Fabiola Forteza, Brianna Miller, Frédérique Rajotte, Elysa Sandron, Kristy Sargent, Demi Stamatakis and Amanda Williams will make their test debuts for Canada.

Emily Belchos and Kayla Mack, who helped to lead Canada to a second place finish at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, have been released from Canada’s women’s sevens program to play on the senior side.

Ratier also commented about the teams involved in the Super Series  saying that“England are the World Champions, France just won the Six Nations and USA is always a big battle so the competition will be tough. But that is what we need to be better and stronger.

Ratier has also selected a 23-player Maple Leafs (A) team to compete against the USA All-Americans in Utah.

Ratier indicated that “It’s very important to be in Utah with these two teams. It’s an opportunity for our senior team to continue on the road to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup while giving members of the Maple Leafs a chance to perform and win or reclaim a spot with Canada in the future as well.”

He further said that “We are still looking to increase our depth at some key positions like scrum half and fly half. We want to make sure we can have more than two options before the Women’s Rugby World Cup.”

Canada: Emily Belchos  (Markham Irish), Latoya Blackwood (St. Anne de Bellevue/Toulouse) Tyson Beukeboom (Aurora Barbarians)  Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC)  Olivia DeMerchant (Woodstock Wildmen)  Fabiola Forteza (Club de Rugby de Quebec)  Chelsea Guthrie (Stratchona Druids)  Anais Holly (TMRRFC)  Mary-Jane Kirby (Highland RFC) Kayla Mack   (Wild Oats)  Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club) DaLeaka Menin (Hornets) Barbara Mervin (Velox RFC)  Katie McNally (Velox Valkries)  Brianna Miller (SABRFC) Jacey Murphy (Aurora Barbarians)  Frédérique Rajotte (Sainte Anne de Bellevue RFC) Laura Russell, captain (Toronto Nomads) Elysa Sandron (Winnipeg Saracens RFC)
Kristy Sargent (Lep Tigers) Demi Stamatakis (SFU)  Katie Svoboda (Belleville Bulldogs)
Alex Tessier (Montreal Barbarians) Brittany Waters (Meraloma Athletic Club) Amanda Williams (Calgary Hornets) Julianne Zussman (Town of Mount Royal RFC)


England’s Coach Scott Bemandhas 26 player squad is an experienced squad with 682 caps. Worcester Valkyries player Laura Keates returns from injury and will gain her 50th cap. Richmond wing Fiona Pocock also rejoins the squad after injuries.

Alex Matthews and Megan Jones have been recalled from the sevens programme for the tour. Two new names, in Darlington Mowden Park Number 8 Zoe Aldcroft and Bristol forward Sarah Bern, will be looking to secure their first senior England caps having progressed through the England Women U20 programme.

Lead coach Scott Bemand said: “This tour is an important opportunity for these girls to come together and play some of the top sides in the world. For those who haven’t been through the World Cup environment previously, they will experience everything there is around the tight turnaround of games and an away tour. We are really excited about the group of players travelling and gives us the opportunity to further evolve our style of play.”

England: Zoe Aldcroft (Darlington Mowden Park) (uncapped); Sarah Bern (Bristol) (uncapped); Bianca Blackburn (Worcester) (13 caps); Lauren Cattell (Saracens) (18 caps); Lotte Clapp (Saracens) (7 caps); Rochelle Clark (Worcester) (110 caps); Amy Cokayne (Lichfield) (13 caps); Victoria Cornborough (Richmond) (14 caps); Lark Davies (Worcester) (1 cap); Courtney Gill (Worcester) (1 cap); Sarah Hunter (Bristol) (78 caps); Megan Jones (Bristol) (1 cap); Laura Keates (Worcester) (49 caps); Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park) (6 caps); Ceri Large (Worcester) (47 caps); Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park) (16 caps); La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park) (54 caps); Katie Mason (Bristol) (10 caps); Alex Matthews (Richmond) (21 caps); Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield) (31 caps); Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol) (17 caps); Fiona Pocock (Richmond) (26 caps); Amber Reed (Bristol) (29 caps); Leanne Riley (Saracens) (7 caps); Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park) (91 caps); Lydia Thompson (Worcester) (22 caps)


Most of France’s Six Nations winning squad will be playing in the Super Series except for Pauline Rayssac who has work commitments, while Dhia Traore and Julie Annery are injured.  Due to the injuries, Lille prop Laure Clermidy and backrow/centre Pauline Soulard will join Caroline Thomas, captain of newly-promoted Clermont Auvergne, in looking to get their first caps.

France: Audrey Abadie (Blagnac-Saint Orens Rugby féminin); Manon Andre (Blagnac-Saint Orens Rugby féminin); Lise Arricastre (Lons Rugby féminin Béarn Pyrénées); Manon Bigot (Blagnac-Saint Orens Rugby féminin); Julie Billes (Montpellier); Camille Boudaud (Rennes); Caroline Boujard (Montpellier); Pauline Bourdon (AS Bayonne); Camille Cabalou (AS Bayonne); Patricia Carricaburu (Lons Rugby féminin Béarn Pyrénées); Laure Clermidy (Lille Métropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois); Laura Delas (Stade Tarbes Pyrénées Rugby); Julie Duval (Ovalie Caennaise); Céline Ferer (AS Bayonne); Audrey Forlani (Blagnac-Saint Orens Rugby féminin); Lucille Godiveau (Bobigny); Virginie Griere (Lille Métropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois); Gaëlle Hermet (Stade Toulousain Rugby Féminin); Camille Imart (Stade Toulousain Rugby Féminin); Emilie Mathieu (FC Grenoble Amazones); Romane Menager (Lille Métropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois); Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier); Safi N’diaye (Montpellier); Carla Neissen (Blagnac-Saint Orens Rugby féminin); Elodie Poublan (Montpellier); Yanna Rivoalen (Lille Métropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois); Laure Sansus (Stade Toulousain Rugby Féminin); Agathe Sochat (Bordeaux); Pauline Soulard (Blagnac-Saint Orens Rugby féminin); Caroline Thomas (Ovalie Romagnatoise Clermont Auvergne)

USA Women’s Eagles

Pete Steinberg’s USA Women’s Eagles squad consists of 26 players and with the exception of 3 Women’s Eagles Sevens, were selected from 53 athletes who attended the National All-Star Competition at the University of Northern Colorado.

Pete Steinburg indicated that “this was by far the most competitive camp I have had in my five years as the head coach of the Eagles. Not only do we have 26 players that I am confident can step out in an international competition and compete, but we have several players in the non-traveling reserves. The unified pathway has really helped us get the best player into camp.”

Nineteen of the twenty six players played in last year’s Super Series, so the Women Eagles will be ready to contend. This leaves 7 potential debutantes, Megan Foster, Saskia Morgan, Christiane Pheil, Jamila Reinhardt, Asinate Serevie, Nicole Strasko and Naya Tapper, who hope to earn their first cap.

Steinberg added that “the selection for the Super Series demonstrates better coordination with the sevens program and we have players moving back and forth between the two programs based on what is best for the team and player.”  That is  Richie Walker and the program.

USA Women’s Eagles: Kathryn Augustyn (Berkeley All Blues), Catherine Benson (Life West), Stacey Bridges (Scion Sirens), Elizabeth Cairns (Penn State), Cheta Emba (Eagles 7s), Tiffany Faaee (New York Rugby Club), Megan Foster (Life West), Jordan Gray (BYU), Nicole Heavirland (Eagles 7s), Molly Kinsella (Glendale Raptors), Joanna Kitlinski (Glendale Raptors), Jen Lui (Glendale Raptors), Saskia Morgan (Brown), Deven Owsiany (San Diego Surfers), Jane Paar (Eagles 7s), Sam Pankey (Washington Furies), Christiane Pheil (Chicago North Shore), Jamila Reinhardt (Augusta), Hope Rogers (Penn State), Kimber Rozier (Washington Furies), Asinate Serevi (CWU), Jennifer Sever (Life West), Nicole Strasko (Life), Naya Tapper (UNC), Alycia Washington (Hartford Wild Roses), Jessica Wooden (ARPTC)

USA Reserves: Baylee Annis (Burlington), Sylvia Braaten (Twin Cities), Nick James (HARC), Sara Parsons (Austin Valkyries), Lauren Rhode (New York Rugby Club), Nicole Snyder (Bloomsburg), Kate Zackary (Eagles 7s)

USA Coaching & Other Staff: Pete Steinberg (Head Coach), Peter Baggetta (Associate Head Coach), Martha Daines  & Richard Ashfield (Assistant Coaches), Christian Carter (Strength & Conditioning), Adam Russell (Director of Player Performance), Liz Kirk & Julie Sutcliffe (Player Performance), Caitlin Singletary (Video), Amy Valenta (Head Physiotherapist), Sarah Leslie (Assistant Physiotherapist), Terrence Cronin (National Team Doctor), Roshna Wunderlich & Jeff Horton (Super Series Management)

Women’s Rugby Super Series Match Schedule

All six matches across the three match days of the Women’s Rugby Super Series – July 1, July 5, and July 9 – will be broadcast live for free on The Rugby Channel. Fans can attend both Super Series matches each day for as little as $5 and up to $20, with tickets available online and at Regional Athletic Complex.

  • Canada vs. England – Friday, July 1
  • USA v. France – Friday, July 1 @ 5 p.m. MT
  • England v France – Tuesday, July 5
  • USA v. Canada – Tuesday, July 5 @ 5 p.m. MT
  • Canada vs. France -Saturday, July 9
  • USA v. England – Saturday, July 9 @ 3 p.m. MT

USA AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans v Canada’s Maple Leafs

A women’s age-grade Stars and Stripes Camp will be held alongside the Super Series in Salt Lake City, with 50 WCAA-eligible and 50 AIG Women’s Junior All-American-eligible athletes set to vie for selection to the WCAA team that will face Canada’s Maple Leafs on the second and third match days of the senior competition.

USA All-Americans v Maple Leafs— July 5
USA All-Americans v Maple Leafs — July 9

Canada’s Senior Women’s Maple Leafs Roster

Gillian Allen (Kirin) Gillian Boag (Capilano/UBC) Alanna Fittes (Leprechaun Tigers)
Julia Folk (Regina Rogues) Ngalula Fuamba (TMR)  Lisa Gauthier (St-Anne de Bellevue)
Julia Goss (Leprechaun Tigers)  Mackenzie Higgs (Aurora Barbarians)  Colleen Irowa (McMaster University)  Lori Josephson (Aurora Barbarians)  Brittany Kassil (Guelph Redcoats)  Daria Keane (Guelph Redcoats)  Kathleen Keller (Club de Rugby de Quebec)
Chelsey Minter (Velox Valkyries)  Jess Neilson (Meraloma) Justine Pelletier (Club de Rugby de Quebec)  Camile Provençal-Aube (Abénakis et CRQ) Gabrielle Senft (UVic)  Natasha Smith (Barrhaven Scottish)  Sara Svoboda (Belleville Bulldogs RFC)  Emma Taylor (HRFC)
Brandi Van Eeuwen (Cowichan Rugby Club)  Petra Woods (Toronto Saracens)

USA Stars & Strips Camp

USA Rugby has recognized 67 student-athletes for selection to the 2015-16 Women’s Collegiate All-American teams from 29 universities across both Divisions I and II.

“The All-American selections were aided by coach nominations, as well as scouting reports by national age-grade coaches, AIG Women’s Collegiate All-American Head Coach Sue Whitwell, Women’s Eagles Player Development Manager Martha Daines, and other members of the Women’s National Team High Performance staff. While the selection process for the All-Americans closely resembles those of previous years, the criteria for selection for the 2015-16 team differs in in the added emphasis on selection based on specific positions, and players’ performances during their postseason fixtures.”

Sue Whitewell explained that “Players were selected from the teams that participated in the Fall and Spring USA Rugby Collegiate Championships. The selections, made by a committee of WNT High Performance Coaches, were based on the players deemed to be the best in their position in the playoff series.”

She continued to say that “The caliber of player made it a difficult task to bestow the All-American honor on a select few. The level of player, particularly the pace and physicality, in the game continues to get better and better.”

USA Rugby: “The vast majority of the newly-recognized All-Americans have been invited to participate at the June 28 – July 2 Women’s Junior and Collegiate All-America Stars and Stripes Camp. From the roughly 100 athletes competing at Stars and Stripes, the WCAA team will be selected for a pair of matches against a Canadian under-23 side – the Maple Leafs.”

Women’s Division I – First Team All-American
Megan Rom (Life) – Prop, Rebekah Hebdon (BYU) – Prop, Tanya Houston (North Carolina) – Hooker,  Haley Schafer (Central Washington) – Lock,  Jennifer Johnson (Central Washington) – Lock,  Elizabeth Cairns (Penn State) – Flanker,  Nicole Strasko (Life) – Flanker,  Sialafua Skipps (BYU) – No. 8,  Madison Ohmann (Life) – Scrum half,  Gabriela Cantorna (Penn State) – Fly half,  Jordan Gray (BYU) – Center,  Asinate Serevi (Central Washington) – Center,  Tanya Aragon (New Mexico) – Wing,  Deschel Ferguson (Life) – Wing,  Tess Feury (Penn State) – Full back

Women’s Division I – Second Team All-American
Azniv Albandian (Penn State) – Prop,  Hannah Lewandowski (Central Washington) – Prop,  Yana Manoa (Central Washington) – Hooker,  Nalia Tafua (BYU) – Lock,  Katie Loughran (Notre Dame) – Lock,  Taylah Pipkin (Penn State) – Flanker,  Carly Mackey (Virginia Tech) – Flanker,  Katie Lufton (North Carolina) – No. 8,  Nicole McCullough (BYU) – Scrum half,  McKenzie Hawkins (Lindenwood) – Fly half,  Kaitlin Broughton (Life) – Center,  Sydnee Watanabe (UC Davis) – Center,  Amanda Divich (Lindenwood) – Wing,  Jasmine Folch (Connecticut) – Wing,  Emily Lessner (Virginia Tech) – Full back

Women’s Division I – Honorable Mention All-American
Olufunmilayo Akinl (Air Force)   Morelia Ayala (Chico State)   Francesca Beller (Virginia) Olivia Bernadel Huey (Stanford)  Scout Cheeks (Penn State) Megan Curtis (Central Washington) Hannah Gauthreaux (Lindenwood) Summer Harris Jones (Virginia) Leah Ingold (Central Washington) Joy Jefferson (Virginia) Jessica Lu (Princeton) Daly Montgomery (Stanford) Katie Mueller (Penn State) Denesha Shipman (Texas) Carly Waters (Penn State)

Women’s Division II – First Team All-American
Allison Miedzelec (Davenport) – Prop,  Megan Reilly (Bloomsburg) – Prop,  Lanoira Duhart (Winona) – Hooker,  Kourtney Kavjecz (Winona) – Lock,  Brenna Donahue (Davenport) – Lock,  Paige Phannnensteil (Bowdoin) – Flanker,  Meredith Conrad-Forest (Humboldt) – Flanker,  Bailey Johnson (Mankato) – No. 8,  Moriah Halteman (Fresno State) – Scrum half,
Ashlee Byrge (Davenport) – Fly half,  Nicole Snyder (Bloomsburg) – Center,  Danielle Ordway (Davenport) – Center,  Megan Shalvis (Nevada) – Wing,  Stephanie Taylor (Montana State) – Wing,  Erica Maker (Tulane) – Full back

Women’s Division II – Second Team All-American
Chelsey Cobler (Eastern Kentucky) Addison Carvajal (Bowdoin) Makala Ferguson (Davenport) Hunter Moreland (Davenport) Lily Wissinger (Tulane)


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant