Russells help Canada to record win

Three Cowichan club players on quest for Women’s Rugby World Cup

The Cowichan Rugby Football Club’s Kelly Russell scored three tries as she captained Canada to a record 98-0 win over Hong Kong to kick off the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland on Wednesday.

Russell, one of three Cowichan players on the Canadian side along with her sister Laura Russell and Tyson Beukeboom, put up 15 points as Canada scored 16 tries and posted an all-time mark for points in a WRWC match. Russell also surpassed the 50-point mark for her career with Canada, and finished the game with 55 career points.

“I’m really proud of the team and the effort they put in,” she said. “There are some things to fix going forward, but we’ll get there.”

The Russell sisters, who were born in Ontario but play for the Cowichan club and coach at Brentwood College School (Kelly) and Shawnigan Lake School (Laura), both started for Canada. Beukeboom, also originally from Ontario, came into the match later on as head coach Francois Ratier used his subs liberally.

“It’s important to get all of our girls out on the pitch because we want these girls to come up and bring up the pace when they step on and that’s exactly what they did,” Russell said. “Across the board, any one of those girls can be in that starting lineup.”

Canada will face Wales on Sunday, then take on the No. 1 ranked four-time World Cup champions from New Zealand on Aug. 17.