Canadian rugby sevens team nominated for Rio 2016

VICTORIA — On Friday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Rugby Canada named the 12 athletes nominated to represent Team Canada in women’s rugby sevens at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5 to 21.

The 12 athletes selected include Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams. The team is coached by John Tait and Sandro Fiorino.

Download hi-res team photos

Canada sealed its spot in the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens tournament with its second place finish on the 2014-15 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series.

After winning gold at last year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada finished third on the 2015-16 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series and concluded the season with a cup win at the Clermont Sevens.

Canada will continue its pre-Olympic preparations on Vancouver Island at Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence as well as the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE). On July 26, an Olympic media celebration and Rio sendoff will take place at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

The women’s rugby sevens Olympic tournament takes place at Deodoro Stadium, August 6-8.

At Rio 2016, Canada expects to field a team of more than 315 athletes.

About Rugby Canada

Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada. Rugby Football has a long history in Canada dating back to its initial appearance in the 1860s. Since 1974, Rugby Canada has been a permanent fixture on the global rugby scene, including trips to each of the eight Men’s Rugby World Cups and seven Women’s Rugby World Cups. As a regular on the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Canada continues to climb the world rankings and challenge the dominant rugby nations in both versions of the game.

To support the growth of rugby at the grassroots level and to ensure there are elite programs for prospering young rugby players to become involved with, Rugby Canada has put an emphasis on developing its junior programs. Our goal is to develop and train competitive teams for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan respectively, the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in USA and 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.


“The whole team is so excited to represent Canada in this historic event. We cannot wait to hit the field in Rio and represent our country with the entire world watching.”

Jen Kish, Rio 2016 athlete and Team Canada captain


“I am so pumped to have women’s rugby as a new event at the Games. This team will show why rugby sevens deserves to be on the program. They have a track record of winning and I know they’ve got what it takes to continue this success in Rio. Congratulations to the nominees, you are a source of inspiration for our country.”

Curt Harnett, Rio 2016 Team Canada Chef de Mission


“I’m excited about the team we’ve assembled for the Rio Olympic Games as we take part in the historic debut of rugby sevens. We’re looking forward to building off of our recent success, playing on the world’s biggest stage and making our country proud.”

John Tait, Canada’s Women’s Sevens Head Coach


“Canada’s remarkable rugby sevens athletes are certain to outdo themselves at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and will have the full power of Canada — 35 million strong — behind them. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to commend the work done by Rugby Canada to prepare our athletes for the inaugural sevens tournament at the Games in Rio.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

The rugby sevens team that will represent Canada at Rio 2016 includes:


First Last Hometown Event
Britt Benn Napanee, ON Rugby Sevens
Hannah Darling Warsaw, ON Rugby Sevens
Bianca Farella Montreal, QC Rugby Sevens
Jen Kish Edmonton, AB Rugby Sevens
Ghislaine Landry Toronto, ON Rugby Sevens
Megan Lukan Barrie, ON Rugby Sevens
Kayla Moleschi Williams Lake, BC Rugby Sevens
Karen Paquin Quebec City, QC Rugby Sevens
Kelly Russell Bolton, ON Rugby Sevens
Ashley Steacy Lethbridge, AB Rugby Sevens
Natasha Watcham-Roy Gatineau, QC Rugby Sevens
Charity Williams Toronto, ON Rugby Sevens

Coaches and Support Team:

Position First Last Hometown
Head Coach John Tait Mill Bay, BC
Assistant Coach Sandro Fiorino Markham, ON
Manager Meaghan Howat Toronto, ON
Performance Analyst Callum Morris Christchurch, New Zealand
Strength and Conditioning Tyler Goodale Winnipeg, MB
Therapist Sandeep Nandhra Victoria, BC
Therapist Matt Tyler Victoria, BC
Mental Performance Coach Kirsten Barnes Vancouver, BC

Prior to being named to the final Canadian Rio 2016 Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations.

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