Canada 15s captain Sophie de Goede, a nominee for World Rugby’s Women’s 15s Player of the Year award in 2022, will make her HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut next week in France.
The May 12-14 HSBC France Sevens is the seventh and last stop on the women’s sevens circuit. The eighth-ranked Canadian women will face No. 1 New Zealand, the third-ranked U.S. and invitational side Poland in Pool A at Stade Ernest-Wallon.
De Goede, who plays No. 8 for the 15s team, joins a sevens squad currently missing 11 players through injury.
The French event marks the Canadian women’s final competition ahead of the Rugby Americas North Sevens Olympic qualifier in August in Langford, B.C.
On the men’s side, Toulouse is the 10th and penultimate stop on the circuit with the Canadians facing a relegation battle in the World Series finale May 20-21 in London.
The 14th-ranked Canadian men are in Pool A in Toulouse with No. 1 New Zealand, No. 11 Uruguay and No. 13 Kenya.
The number of core teams in the men’s World Series is being reduced to 12 from 16 next season to match the number of women’s sides and to align with the Olympic competition structure.
The 15th-ranked core team following Toulouse will be relegated, with No. 15 Japan currently trailing No. 14 Canada by eight points.
The teams ranked 12th, 13th and 14th after Toulouse will join the Challenger Series 2023 winners in a four-team relegation playoff at the final round in London.
The playoff winner will become the 12th core team on the 2024 Series, while the other three teams will move into their respective Regional Sevens Championships in order to qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. The Challenger Series will continue to provide a pathway for teams to earn qualification to the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Brock Webster returns from injury while Jack Carson joins the men’s squad after helping University of British Columbia win the Canadian University Championship in December and the B.C. Premier League championship last weekend.
Cooper Coats, Jake Thiel and Matt Percillier are unavailable through injury.
Fancy Bermudez returns to the women’s team after making her international 15s debut in March against South Africa. Former sevens player Sabrina Poulin is also back after being part of Canada’s 15s campaign at the Rugby World Cup late last year.
Eden Kilgour, a Maple Leaf Academy player, makes her international debut at the senior level.
The Canadian women have been in camp in Capbreton, France, to prepare for the Toulouse tournament.
“We have had a fantastic 10 day camp with the French development side, and it has allowed us to build the capacity of our program,” Canada coach Jack Hanratty said in a statement. “With announcing our competing squad, we have another two exciting debutantes in Eden and Sophie. Building depth is important, but we want to show that our depth can compete at the highest level. We look forward to ending the season on a high.”
Canada Sevens Rosters
Olivia De Couvreur, Ottawa, Ottawa Irish; Breanne Nicholas, Blenheim, Ont., Kent Havoc RFC; Julia Greenshields, Sarnia, Ont., Sarnia Saints; Fancy Bermudez, Edmonton, NorWester Athletic Association/Westshore RFC; Piper Logan, Calgary, Calgary Hornets; Eden Kilgour, Barrie, Ont., Westshore RFC; Sophie de Goede, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers RFC; Alysha Corrigan, Charlottetown, P.E.I., CRFC/Saracens; Olivia Apps, Lindsay, Ont., Lindsay RFC; Sabrina Poulin, St-Georges, Que., TMRRFC/Eibar Rugby Taldea; Shalaya Valenzuela, Abbotsford, B.C., Abbotsford RFC; Maddy Grant, Cornwall, Ont., University of Ottawa.
Anton Ngongo, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers; Phil Berna, Vancouver, Vancouver Rowing Club; Alex Russell, Chichester, England, McGill University; Josiah Morra, Toronto, Castaway Wanderers/Toronto Saracens; Brock Webster, Uxbridge, Ont., Oshawa Vikings RFC; David Richard, Milton, Ont., Mississauga Blues RFC; Matthew Oworu, Calgary, Pacific Pride; Max Stewart, Cape Town, South Africa, Pacific Pride; Thomas Isherwood, Okotoks, Alta., Foothills Lions RFC; Kal Sager, Peterborough, Ont., Peterborough Pagans/Trent University; Lockie Kratz, Victoria, Castaway Wanderers/NOLA Gold; Elias Hancock, Ottawa, Bytown Blues; Jack Carson, Victoria, UBC,