Female Canadian rugby star to make history at inaugural tournament

Kelly Russell will play on the first ever women’s Barbarian team

Canadian captain Kelly Russell will make rugby history Nov. 10 when she takes part in the inaugural match for the women’s Barbarians.

Barbarian FC, home to the famous invitational world all-star side, was founded in 1890 but it has taken 127 years for women to join the men.

Russell won her 50th cap for Canada during this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Ireland. The 30-year-old back-rower from Bolton, Ont., also helped Canada to a bronze medal in sevens at the 2016 Olympics.

The female Barbarians will make their debut against Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick, Ireland. It’s the first of several matches planned for the 2017-18 season against club, provincial and international sides.

The full schedule will be confirmed later this year.

“We’re delighted to open a new chapter in the Barbarian FC’s history with the creation of our women’s team this season,” Barbarians chairman John Spencer said in a statement. “Its formation is something we’ve been working towards for a number of years and it is a reflection of the excellence of the global women’s game which was showcased so brilliantly at this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.”

Giselle Mather, the Wasps FC director of rugby and a World Cup winner with England in 1994, will coach the team.

“The Barbarians are one of the reasons I fell in love with rugby and to be coaching this side is a massive honour,” said Mather. “I can’t wait to get these players from all different nationalities together with everything they bring from their different environments. It’s going to be a massive opportunity for all these athletes.”

Other players who have already committed to the Barbarians team for the Munster game include Susie Brown (Scotland), Fiona Coghlan (Ireland), Claire Cripps and Megan Goddard (England), Elen Evans (Wales), Emma Jenson (New Zealand) and Christelle Le Duff (France).

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Surrey School District refuses to rent Bell Centre for Parents United Canada rally

Group is seeking court injunction to stop an LGBTQ program in public schools

Coffee with a Cop held in South Surrey

‘Sensational media,’ hazards, and inner-workings of RCMP discussed

White Rock taxpayers on the hook for Memorial Park upgrades delay

Mayor says the province is ‘waffling’ on granting permission to go ahead with project

EXCLUSIVE: Surrey collecting fees on more than 2,400 illegal suites, documents reveal

That works out to more than $1 million in fees collected annually

READERS REACT: ‘Devastated’ mom says 14-year-old Surrey overdose victim loved being with friends

This is what some of our readers are saying about Heaven Donnelly’s tragic story

VIDEO: Surrey Now-Leader reporter tries on a ‘drunk driving suit’

The suit from Ocean Park Ford emulates what it’s like to get behind the wheel after drinking

Holy Heritage Rail Batman: Superheros come to Cloverdale historic train

The Fraser Valley Heritage Rail is hosting its third annual Halloween rail adventure Oct 28, 29

Surrey Eagles prep for road tilt with first-place Vernon Vipers

After a Friday night game against Wenatchee, the Birds take aim at BCHL leaders Saturday

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

‘Hearties’ descend on Langley

Fans of TV show ‘When Calls the Heart’ have gathered in Langley for the Hearties Family Reunion

Most Read