Nations Cup Rugby Challage Begins in Canada Next Week

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Nations Cup Rugby Challage Begins in Canada Next Week
We are getting very close to the second Nations Cup tournament! The tournament will take place at Appleby College, Oakville, Canada, starting next week. Teams included in the tournament are Canada, England, USA South Africa and France. See below for a quick run through of each team and the schedule.

NOTE: Alex Williams of USA Rugby let me know that Canada will be webcasting all the Nations Cup matches. We've been told that they'll be up on their ustream account, which can be found at here.



Canada
Canada may sit out the opening match day at the Women’s Nations Cup on Monday, but the hosts are determined to seize the opportunity of playing four sides who will also be contesting the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 12 months time.

The hosts will play four games in 10 days against South Africa, France, USA – all at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario – and then defending champions England at Fletcher’s Field in Markham.

Ten members of Canada’s squad for the Nations Cup played in the last Women’s Rugby World Cup on home soil in 2006 when they finished fourth, including lively scrum half Julia Sugawara, wing Maria Gallo and prop Leslie Cripps.

“Rugby World Cup 2010 is around the corner, I believe to beat the best you must play the best,” assistant coach Kris de Scossa told irb.com. “This tournament is a great platform in our preparation to do just that and again shows the quality of event that we in Canada can produce.

Canada Women’s squad:
Marie Eve Brindamour Carignan, Paige Burdett, Leslie Cripps, Kim Donaldson, Marlene Donaldson, Tara Eckert, Gillian Florence, Maria Gallo, Megan Gibbs, Brooke Hilditch, Corrine Jacobsen, Heather Jaques, Jennifer Kish, Mandy Marchak, Lesley McKenzie, Barbara Mervin, Ashley Patzer, Cheryl Phillips, Danielle Rowlands, Kelly Russell, Anna Schnell, Stevi Schnoor, Tabitha Stavrou, Laura Stoughton, Julia Sugawara, Sarah Ulmer, Brittany Waters, Julianne Zussman.

USA
They may take on defending champions England in their opening Women’s Nations Cup match in Canada next month, but USA are “fired up to put it all together” as they begin the year-long road to Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 in London.

The Women’s Eagles have qualified directly for next year’s showpiece – as have the other four teams involved in the 2009 Women’s Nations Cup – and have been working hard to give them the best possible chance of bettering their fifth place finish in the last Women’s Rugby World Cup in Canada.

“The athletes are fired up to put it all together,” explained USA Rugby’s Women’s High Performance Manager Alex Williams. “They are ready to stand up and show the world that results of the hard work they’ve been putting in for the last three years and to kick off the year-long road to the World Cup with some victories at the Nations Cup.”

USA's squad:
Stacy Baker, Sharon Blaney, Claudia Braymer, Stacey Bridges, Steph Bruce, Jamie Burke, Lisa Butts, Emilie Bydwell, Kate Daley, Amy Daniels, Mel Denham, Farrah Douglas, Ashley English, Victoria Folayan, Blair Groefsema, Mel Kanuk, Ashley Kmiecik, Lynelle Kugler, Kim Magrini, Nathalie Marchino, Vanesha McGee, Jenny Menke, Jillion Potter, Christy Ringgenberg, Beckett Royce, Hannah Stolba, Lara Vivolo, Kitt Wagner, Mari Wallace, Kristin Zdanczewicz.

England
England, the runners up in the last two Women’s Rugby World Cups, have included only one new cap in their squad to defend the Nations Cup title they won with a clean sweep against USA and Canada last year in Heather Fisher, who impressed at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009.

“This is a really strong squad and it has been hard making the final cut of 26 players, but I believe we will be going to Canada in a very strong position,” said England head coach Gary Street.

“Heather is the only uncapped player and she will add physicality and strength to our game against some physically tough opposition like France and South Africa. We are lucky to have so many talented flankers, like Maggie Alphonsi, who’s unavailable through injury, and Sonia Green and Jane Leonard. It’s been nice to have these selection dilemmas.

England's squad:
Charlotte Barras, Sarah Beale, Rachael Burford, Rochelle Clark, Rebecca Essex, Heather Fisher, Amy Garnett, Sophie Hemming, Sarah Hunter, Karen Jones, Joanna McGilchrist, Katy McLean, Katherine Merchant, Kimberley Oliver, Fiona Pocock, Claire Purdy, Sam Reeve, Alice Richardson, Georgina Rozario, Emily Scarratt, Gemma Sharples, Catherine Spencer, Katy Storie, Amy Turner, Danielle Waterman.

South Africa
With little more than a year to go until Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 kicks off in England, five of the participating teams will come face to face in the Women’s Nations Cup in Canada from 10-22 August as they begin to build towards the showpiece,

South Africa made their debut at the last 15-a-side World Cup in Canada in 2006 and while they didn’t win a match, the lessons learned from competing against the elite nations in Women’s Rugby have seen the game grow.

South Africa Women’s squad:
Forwards: Onicca Moaga, Portia Jonga, Mandisa Williams, Ramona Brown, Nomathamsanqa Faleni, Cebisa Kula, Lamla Momoti, Zandile Nojoko, Donna Sidumbu, Namhla Siyolo, Michelle Kona, Nombulelo Mayongo, Wendy Khumalo, Dolly Mavumengwana, Claudia Thompson, Nosipho Poswa, Yolanda Meiring, Natasha Hofmeester, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Saloma Booysen, Lorinda Brown, Phumeza Gadu, Zenay Jordaan, Marilize Jordaan, Aimee Barrett, Cherne Roberts.

France
France have also named their squad for the expanded tournament with the coaching team of Christian Galonnier, Sébastien Bertrank and Nathalie Amiel selecting four uncapped players among a 30-strong group.

Sonia Amat, Manon Audre, Sandrine Legros and Cindy Reynaud are the new call-ups to a squad which has a further 11 players with caps in single figures. Christine Le Duff is the most experienced member with 53 caps for France, bronze medallists at the last Women’s RWC.

France Women’s squad:
Sandrine Agricole, Celine Allainmat, Sonia Amat, Manon Audre, Clémence Audebert, Aurélie Bailon, Céline Barthelemy, Cyrielle Bouisset, Claire Canal, Lucie Canal, Aurélia Cellier, Clotilde Flaugere, Lucille Godiveau, Marie Charlotte Hebel, Nadège Labbey, Caroline Ladagnous, Christelle Le Duff, Sandrine Legros, Stéphanie Loyer, Cyndia Mansard, Emilie Moreaux, Audrey Noguera, Alexandra Pertus, Elodie Poublan, Sandra Rabier, Cindy Reynaud, Laetitia Salles, Jennifer Troncy, Amandine Vaupre, Marie Alice Yahe.

NOTE: Alex Williams of USA Rugby let me know that Canada will be webcasting all the Nations Cup matches. We've been told that they'll be up on their ustream account, which can be found at here.
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