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Late call-up from UVic makes big mark on women’s national rugby stage

Krissy Scurfield wasn’t in the original lineup for this HSBC Women’s Sevens Series stop

Considering she didn’t know she was going to be playing until the day before the tournament kicked off, Krissy Scurfield took to the field at Starlight Stadium for the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series like a duck to water.

Scurfield had just woken up early on Friday when she got the call she’d been picked as the thirteenth member of the team after Chloe Daniels had to drop out due to injury.

“It was definitely a roller coaster,” she said in an interview after Canada won the fifth-place final against the U.S.

Despite the big occasion in front of a home crowd in Langford, Scurfield, 19, excelled and became a key player in Canada’s run to victory in the fifth-place final. She was Canada’s joint-top try-scorer with four tries in the tournament and brought the crowd to its feet several times with her hard running and tackling.

Chants of “Krissy, Krissy” and “give the ball to Krissy,” could be heard from some sections of the stands at Starlight Stadium, with Scurfield’s speed and determination quickly endearing her to the fans watching on. Her performance didn’t just catch the eye of fans, Scurfield was shortlisted for HSBC Women’s Dream Team – chosen from the players who performed best during the Langford leg of the tournament.

Thousands cheered on Scurfield’s efforts, as well as her dad Al, was able to travel out from Canmore and see her play for the national team in-person for the first time.

Scurfield wasn’t the only relative newcomer to the team. Scurfield, who is a first-year social studies student, lined up with University of Victoria Vikes teammate Renee Gonzalez against the U.S. – both of whom had only played in two tournaments in the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series. Asia Hogan-Rochester has also only played in two tournaments, while Langford was Florence Symond’s first appearance for the national team. In fact, eight out of the thirteen players in the squad have played in less than five tournaments.

“It feels good, I just love having other people that are my age because we can learn and grow together,” said Scurfield. “I’ve only been here for a year now and I’ve made a new family so it felt incredible.”

The team is going through something of a rebuilding process, in the wake of a disappointing Olympics performance at Tokyo 2020 and the release of the report after an independent high-performance review. Head coach Jack Hanratty called the report a tough reality in a previous interview with Black Press Media but said he was pleased with the way the team performed in Langford.

“They weren’t just playing here to get up for the crowd, that can give you an extra beat but it’s not going to win your games. Although out there they were playing with a smile on their face, inside they’re very determined to look at exactly what was going to be coming down the path and I think they dealt with it really well,” he said in an interview after Canada won the fifth-place final.

That fifth-place finish in Langford is Canada’s best so far of this season’s HSBC Women’s Sevens Series. There’s one more leg of the six tournament series, set to be played in Toulouse from May 20 to 22. After that comes the Rugby World Sevens Cup, held from Sept. 9 to 11 in South Africa, which Canada qualified for earlier this month.

After this past weekend’s performance, there’s a good chance Scurfield will be involved in those tournaments and for years to come. She said her favourite player growing up was Bianca Farella and that she cried when they first met. After the game Scurfield was posing for photographs and signing autographs for young fans along with Farella.

“It makes my heart full and I love that there are so many young girls here that are involved in rugby and I just love that the sport is growing and growing.”

ALSO READ: Canada win against US in fifth-place final

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