Biography:

Originally from Bolton, Ontario, Kelly Russell followed in her father’s footsteps, joining the Toronto Nomads rugby club at an early age. Russell is one of Canada’s most decorated female rugby players, having earned her first cap with Canada’s Women’s Fifteens Team in 2007. The following year, she made her debut with Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team during a tournament in Hong Kong. She has competed for Canada at two Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens (2009 and 2013), earning a silver medal in 2013. While she excels in the sevens game, Russell was also one of the best fifteens players in the world. She played in two Women’s Rugby World Cups and was placed on the tournament all-star team in both 2010 and 2014, as Canada finished second at the latter. Russell was captain of Canada’s Women’s Fifteens Team from 2011 to 2014 and led the team to a 2013 Nations Cup title.  She was named Rugby Canada’s Women’s Fifteens Player of the Year in 2013 and was a finalist for the 2014 IRB Women’s Player of the Year. She was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, scoring five tries and 27 points in the tournament. Russell saved her best showing of the 2015-16 season for last, as she was named MVP of the Final at the Clermont-Ferrand Sevens, as Canada won the final tournament of the season.

Getting to know…

Family: Parents Sandy Russell and Judy Russell… Older sister Jennifer Russell and younger sister Laura Russell (took over for Kelly as Rugby Canada’s national 15s team captain)… Getting into the sport: Started playing rugby at the age of 14… Her father played while she was growing up and she loved it from a young age because of his passion… Outside Interests: Earned degree in BioArchaeological Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario in 2009… Odds and Ends: Always travels with a towel with Canadian flags on it that her mother gave her for her first U-19 national team tryout…   Tries to collects magnets from everywhere she travels…