Moleschi to have lead role in sevens series

Williams Lake’s Kayla Moleschi will be looked to as a leader on this year’s Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team.

Williams Lake’s Kayla Moleschi will be looked to as a leader on this year’s Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team when they open the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Head coach John Tait announced Canada’s roster Wednesday for the upcoming Dubai Sevens, which kicks off next Thursday in Dubai.

“Kayla Moleschi and Bianca Farella now have an opportunity to grow their roles in the team as leaders and are coming off great seasons and Olympic performances,” Tait said.

This will be the first event for Moleschi and the team since claiming a bronze medal at the Olympics this past summer and marks the beginning of a new four-year cycle in the lead up to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

While many familiar faces from the Olympic squad will be in Dubai, Tait said there’s no doubt Canada is currently in a transition period and is balancing the loss of veteran leadership with the influx of youth into the program.

Gone from the sevens program are Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell, two mainstays on Tait’s roster over the past four years. Joining them with the 15s program were Elissa Alarie and Magali Harvey, two highly-skilled attackers.

Tait, however, said the well hasn’t dried up.

He will be bringing 12 players with Women’s Sevens World Series experience to Dubai including nine athletes who won bronze in Rio.

Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy and Charity Williams will join Moleschi as returning players who participated at the Olympics.

Julia Greenshields, Sara Kaljuvee and Breanne Nicholas round out the roster.

“I am pretty confident we will remain competitive this season and stay in the top four with returning players and the leadership in the group we have retained,” Tait said.

“At the start of the new quad we want to of course get off on the right foot and be competitive and always have the expectation we can compete for the cup, but in the big picture Dubai is an opportunity to gauge where we are now in regards to where we will likely need to be to contest for the World Cup in two years’ time.

“The team going is fast and as skilled as we have ever fielded previously, along with the ability to potentially play in different positions more so than what we have had in the past.

“So that will hopefully give other teams real challenges in matching up with us as we develop and improve our tactics throughout this season.”