Canada’s women ‘Ravens’ begin their World Cup preparations

Canada’s women begin their preparations for the Women’s World Cup later today (Tuesday), when they take on Ireland at Orrell St James (kick off 2pm, admission free). The Ravens, who play Papua New Guinea in their opening group game next week, defeated USA 42-10 earlier in the year and are looking to make an impact having arrived at the weekend.

The Ravens include seven potential debutants in their squad; professional photographer Maddy Aberg, Rachel Choboter, a geotechnical engineer, Danielle Franada, Alix Evans, Karina Gauto, Lauren Mueller who plays with London Broncos and moved to England five years ago after graduating from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and experienced Laura Mariu.

Head coach Mike Castle said: “We’re really excited to play Ireland. I’m expecting a very competitive game against a team who have played a few games already this year. The clash is an important part of our World Cup preparations, and will give us an opportunity to try out some combinations as we get ready for PNG on the first of November.”

Ireland draft in three newcomers, Featherstone’s Gabby Harrison, Sinead O’Brien of Galway Tribeswomen and Leigh Leopards’ Mollie Young. Women’s head coach, John Whalley, commented: “It’s fantastic to be able to face a team like Canada. Not only is it great to be able to help them warm-up for the World Cup but it is also a good test for us to see where we are as a team. This will be our fourth Test Match since launching less than 18-months ago and it is another chance for us to make some good progress.”

CANADA SQUAD  :  Alix Evans, Alanna Fittes, Danielle Franada, Karina Gauto, Brittany Jones, Sarah Maguire, Jade Menin, Ferris Sandboe, Kristy Sargent, Elizabeth Steele (Alberta Rugby League); Maddy Aberg, Rachel Choboter, Gabrielle Hindley, Ada Okonkwo (Rugby League British Columbia); Lauren Mueller (London Broncos); Nina Bui, Brittany Douglas, Sab McDaid, Natasha Naismith, Megan Pakulis, Zoey Siciliano, Natalie Tam, Petra Woods (Ontario Rugby League); Laura Mariu (Richmond Roses, New Zealand)

IRELAND SQUAD  :  Storm Cobain (Bedford Tigers), Lisa Callan, Ali Coleman, Clodagh Dunne, Orlaith McAuliffe, Alex McGuinness, Amy O’Neill, Faye O’Neill (Dublin City Exiles), Francessca Copley, Gabby Harrison (Featherstone Rovers), Laoise McGonagle, Sinead O’Brien (Galway Tribeswomen), Mairead Quinn, Mollie Young (Leigh Leopards), Iona McCusker (London Broncos), Louise Burgess (Oxford Cavaliers), Philippa Birchall (St Helens), Bettie Lambert (York RLFC Valkyries)