Kelly Russell earned her 50th cap with the national women’s XV in most impressive fashion.
Russell, a standout player at the Cowichan Rugby Football Club and coach at Brentwood College School, was named Guinness Woman of the Match as she captained Canada to a 15-0 win over Wales at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland on Sunday.
Her sister Laura, who also plays with the CRFC and coaches at Shawnigan Lake School, and another Cowichan teammate, Tyson Beukeboom, also played in the match as Canada improved to 2-0 at the WRWC going into a critical test against New Zealand on Thursday.
“I think in our first game we got the offence right and in this game we got the defence right, but the next one we’ll put it all together,” Russell said. “Wales put a lot of pressure on us, but [the knock-ons] are pure discipline on our part and it’s something we have to clean up. I’m very happy with the discipline on defence we had. It’s definitely something to build off of.”
Kelly Russell helped create Canada’s first try of the match with a hard-charging run that led to Lori Josephson picking up the ball from the back of the ruck and scoring from 10 metres out.
Canada defeated Hong Kong 98-0 in their first match of the World Cup. New Zealand is also 2-0 after beating Wales 44-12 and Hong Kong 121-0. Canada was ranked third in the world, one spot back of New Zealand, going into the tournament. The winner of Thursday’s match at 4 a.m. Pacific will advance to the semifinals, while the loser will have to hope to be the best runner-up out of the three pools.
Both Russell sisters and Beukeboom were members of the Canadian squad that finished second at the 2014 World Cup.