Five rugby Axewomen named to U20 Team Canada squad

Left to Right: Monique Coffey, Valerie Wideski, Harley Tucker, Annie Kennedy and Emilie Merilainen.
Left to Right: Monique Coffey, Valerie Wideski, Harley Tucker, Annie Kennedy and Emilie Merilainen.

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Rugby Canada announced the 26-woman roster for the U20 National women's rugby team that will compete in this month's Tri-Nation Cup hosted by Rugby Canada and Rugby Nova Scotia on the Acadia University campus in Wolfville, N.S. beginning August 7.

Five Acadia rugby team members will contribute to the team's effort in the Tri-Nations Cup including Harley Tucker (Black Diamond, Alta.), Annie Kennedy (Kingston, Ont.) and first-year Axewoman Valerie Wideski (Richmond, B.C.) along with Monique Coffey (Dauphin, Man.) and Emilie Merilainen (Batawa, Ont.) who were named to the reserve list.

Head coach Jack Hanratty was pleased with the talent that recently attended the Canadian Rugby Championship in Saskatoon, Sask.

"There was some tremendous talent on show and the heads of the U20 and senior women's staff were certainly turned. We have plenty of excellent talent at this age group, not only at CRC but also USPORTS and Sevens. Some extremely talented players didn't make our final squad, and having this amount of depth is only a positive for the future of Canadian rugby," said Hanratty. 

The Tri-Nations Cup, held at Acadia University and the Wanderers Ground in downtown Halifax, will see U20 sides from USA, England and Canada face off over four game-days over a 12-day period in August.

A third-year lock for the Axewomen, Harley Tucker is thrilled to be part of a National team for the third time. Last summer she played for the U20 team and before her arrival at Acadia, Tucker was on the U18 squad that toured England in summer of 2016.

"Having this tour in the valley and having so much representation from the east and Acadia really proves how rugby is growing and improving in Nova Scotia. Playing at Acadia is just a dream come true and there's no place I feel more at home. Having a good environment to train in will only set us up for success," said Tucker.

"Every tour I learn so much, about the other girls, their different styles of play, and how we can capitalize on our strong points of the game. When you gather 26 experienced high-level players there's a lot of different styles and tactics. It's really awesome to be able to work through each motion and find what works best for all of us. There is always a huge learning curve, but I've never had a negative experience while on tour with Canada," added Tucker.

Acadia's rugby team head coach Matt Durant was excited with the news that five Axewomen will gain valuable experience with the National program as they head into hosting the 2018 USPORTS National Women's Rugby Championship.

"I am thrilled that the hard work of four of our returning players has been so well recognized.  These ladies have been at the heart of our program the last two seasons and they have been having an absolutely stunning spring and summer of rugby thus far.  I am so proud of them.  I am also encouraged, though not surprised to see Valerie Wideski, our great incoming freshwoman, to factor into this U20 Canada squad. She is sure to be one of Canada's stars in the front row in August," said Durant.

Acadia will be the host site of three major Canadian rugby events this year including the Tri-Nations Cup from August 7 to 14; the Girls and Boys U16 and U18 Eastern National Championship from August 13-19 and the U SPORTS Women's National Championship from November 1-4.

Tri-Nations Cup Schedule:

Tuesday, Aug. 7 – 6:30 pm – Acadia Dyke Fields
USA vs Canada

Friday, Aug. 10 – 6:30 pm – Acadia Dyke Fields
England vs Canada

Tuesday, Aug. 14 – 6:30 pm – Acadia Dyke Fields
USA vs England

Saturday, Aug. 18 – 4:00 pm – Halifax Wanderers Grounds
Canada vs England

U20 Team Canada Roster

Erika Barton - Guelph University/Kingston Panthers (ON)
Brooke Bazian - UBC Thunderbirds (BC)
Keegan Branter - University of Lethbridge/Lethbridge Rugby Club (AB)
Mackenzie Carson - UBC Thunderbirds/Bristol Bears (BC)
Hannah Daniels - Queen's University/Aurora Barbarians (ON)
Sophie de Goede - Queen's University/Castaway Wanderers (BC)
Abby duGuid - University of Lethbridge/Edmonton Pirates RFC (AB)
Madison Gold - UBC Thunderbirds (BC)
Zoe Goodwin-Sutton - UVic Vikes/Westshore RFC (ON)
Sasha Guedes - UVic Vikes/Beaconsfield (QC)
Amelia Hatfield - St Francis Xavier University/Halifax Tars RFC (NS)
Niamh Haughey - Brock University/Saracens (ON)
Rachel Hickson - Queen's University/Kingston Panthers (ON)
Asia Hogan - York University/Toronto Nomads (ON)
Courtenay Holtkamp - University of Alberta/Red Deer Titans (AB)
Taylour Hurd - Brock University/Oakville Crusaders (ON)
Idia Ihensekien - Dartmouth College/Oakville Crusaders RFC (ON)
Annie Kennedy - Acadia University/Windsor Machine RFC (ON)
Sarah-Maude La Chance - CEGEP Victoriaville/Club De Rugby Quebec (QC)
Tausani Levale - Abbotsford Griffins (BC)
Aly Macdougal - University of Calgary/Calgary Irish (AB)
Celia Martensson - Queen's University/Aurora Barbarians (ON)
Maya Montiel - Ottawa University/Ottawa Irish Rugby Club (NB)
Harley Tucker - Acadia Universtiy/Windsor Machine RFC (AB)
Valerie Wideski - Acadia University/Westshore RFC (BC)

 

Non-Travelling Reserves
Monquie Coffey
Sydney De La Mare
Sarah Klok
Emilie Merilainen
Holly Phillips
Taylor Price
Tia Svoboda
Alyana Scramstad
Caitlin Sears
Taejah Thompson

Not Considered Due to Injury
Maddie Cohoon
Emily Nichol
Alex Ondo
Shaye Tudor

 

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