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NBer Olivia DeMerchant Dresses for Canada vs England Match

By Rugby Canada, 06/12/17, 11:45AM AKDT


Canada’s senior women’s head coach Francois Ratier has made just two changes to his starting XV ahead of Monday’s International Women’s Rugby Series clash with England in Christchurch.

Alex Tessier comes in at fly-half in place of Emily Belchos, who moves to inside centre, while Lori Josephson replaces Chelsea Guthrie at scrum-half.

“We are changing nine and 10 to have other options in the future,” Ratier said. “We are also expecting some reaction from players who didn't perform against New Zealand too.”

It’s an unchanged forward pack for Canada as Carolyn McEwen, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin occupy the front row with Tyson Beukeboom and Kayla Mack at lock.

Jacey Grusnick and Karen Paquin start at flanker with captain  Kelly Russell at No. 8.

Belchos is joined by Amanda Thornborough in the centres with Elissa Alarie and Magali Harvey on the wings. Julianne Zussman starts at fullback.

Canada is coming off of a 28-16 defeat to New Zealand in its opening match of the tournament. Alarie and Grusnick had tries for Canada in a preview of the two sides’ 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup pool match in August. England opened the tournament with an emphatic 53-10 win over Australia.

“The most important thing is to understand why we have lost and we did,” Ratier said. “This group need to find their ‘killer instinct’ to beat the best.”

Monday’s game kicks off at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT and can be seen LIVE on

Canada’s Roster vs. England (Name, club, hometown):

1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (Vancouver, BC)

2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)

3. DaLeaka Menin, Hornets (Vulcan, AB)

4. Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON) 

5. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK) 

6. Jacey Grusnick, Barrhaven Scottish (Alliston, ON)

7. Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers (Quebec City, QC)

8. Kelly Russell, captain Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON) 

9. Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON) 

10. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC) 

11. Elissa Alarie, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC) 

12. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON) 

13.Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB) 

14. Magali Harvey, Town of Mont-Royal RFC (Quebec City, QC) 

15. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)

16. Jane Kirby, Highland RFC (Brampton, ON)

17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)

18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)

19. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON) 

20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)

21. Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)

22. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)

23. Frederique Rajotte, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Montreal, QC)

Unavailable due to Injury:

Latoya Blackwood, Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC) 

Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC) 

Coaching Staff:

Francois Ratier- Head Coach

Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach

Colette McAuley- Technical Support

Nicole Crowley- Manager

Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist

Nicole Allen- Athletic Therapist

James Kent- Analyst