After a dominating performance in Hong Kong, Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team is hoping for similar success as they gear up for Round Three of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Guangzhou, China.
The Canadian women are coming off a very impressive showing at the Hong Kong Sevens Tournament, where they outscored their opponents 144-0 en route to capturing the championship.
While those are high expectations, Phillips knows what it takes.
“We are excited to put in a performance even better than Hong Kong last weekend,” said Phillips, who celebrates her birthday on Wednesday, March 27.
She received her first Senior Women’s Fifteens cap at the Nations Cup in 2008 and has been a steady fly half and fullback for the national team since. Her highest honour came three years ago when she represented Canada at the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Phillips got her first cap with the Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team in San Diego in 2008 and since then has helped Canada win tournaments in Dubai, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and Ottawa in recent years.
Originally from Scarborough, Ontario, Phillips plays club rugby for the Toronto Scottish in the Ontario Women’s League. There, she often plays in front of no more than 30-40 spectators. In last week’s championship game in Hong Kong, she played in front of 40,000.
“I loved the Hong Kong Sevens,” said Phillips. “I loved the atmosphere in the stadium and getting to play the finals in front of such a large crowd. The city of Hong Kong seems to come alive with rugby spirit and there are so many events going on.”
Monday, the team travelled two hours by train from Hong Kong to China in advance of this weekend’s tournament. While there is the possibility of flying between the two cities – a much quicker alternative – the train ride provided some nice scenery and a little culture for the group.
“I thought it was a great experience going by train,” said Phillips. “The train was very comfortable and we were able to see a lot of the country along the way.”
While the tour is an opportunity for Phillips to play against some of the best talent in the world, it is also an opportunity for her to learn about other cultures. In Hong Kong, she was able to travel around the city and check out some local markets. Guangzhou, located northwest of Hong Kong, is the third largest city in China.
“It’s hard not to experience the Chinese culture when you are immersed in it,” said Phillips.
Most of Phillips’ time in Guangzhouwill be spent on the pitch, concentrating on rugby. With the team having no additional plans outside of the tournament, this is strictly business for the Canadian side.
“We had a good performance at the Hong Kong Sevens,” said Phillips. “However, there are a few things we need to fine tune this week leading into the tournament.”
The women will be in Pool D along with Australia, Japan and Ireland. The Australians are second in the overall WSWS standings with 30 points.After finishing sixth and seventh in Dubai and Houston respectively, the Canadian women sit in seventh overall position with 18 points.
After Houston, the women went back to Victoria for six weeks of intense training in preparation for this tour. A good showing in China could help narrow the gap atop the standings before the series finishes up in Amsterdam, May 17-18.
“This tournament is important to us this weekend,” said Phillips.
“We have been working on so many things since our last two tournament performances and we are excited to see how we match up against some of the top countries,” said Phillips.
Canadian National Women’s Sevens Roster
Elissa Alarie, (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois Rivieres, QC
Jessica Dovanne, (Velox Rugby Club) Victoria, BC
Magali Harvey, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Jennifer Kish, Captain (Edmonton Rockers RFC) Edmonton, AB
Ghislaine Landry, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Mandy Marchak, (Capilano RFC) Winnipeg, MB
Karen Paquin, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Cheryl Phillips, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Scarborough, ON
Kelly Russell, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Ashley Steacy, (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB
Amanda Thornborough, (Brandon Barbarians RFC) Brandon, MB
Julianne Zussman, (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
Julia Greenshields, (Sarnia Saints RFC) Sarnia, ON
Brittany Waters, (Meraloma Athletic Club) Vancouver, BC
Coaches and Staff
John Tait, Head Coach, National Women’s Sevens
Sandro Fiorino, Assistant Coach, National Women’s Sevens
Tyler Goodale, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Meaghan Howat, National Women’s Manager
Brad Curry, Physiotherapist
Guangzhou, China Sevens
March 30 – March 31, 2013
Canada vs. Ireland – 11:50am local time (11:50pm ET/8:50pm PT)
Canada vs. Japan – 2:12pm local time (2:12am ET/11:12pm PT)
Canada vs. Australia – 4:54pm local time (4:32am ET/1:32am PT)
Canada’s National Senior Women’s Sevens Team is proudly sponsored by Macquarie Financial, Trafigura and Own the Podium with Support from Sport Canada.