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

Watch: Gravel truck turns into wrong off-ramp at Highway 2 Ponoka

The new Highway 2 and Highway 53 intersection at Ponoka caused some confusion for one driver

Stettler armed robber convicted in court Oct. 12

Jayson Marshall gets over two years in jail

CORRECTED Donalda Creamery plans on tap Oct. 23

Architects to answer public’s questions about plans

WATCH: ASIRT investigating officer-involved shooting during crime spree

Shots fired on two occasions during incidents, one suspect remains in hospital with serious injuries

Drumheller RCMP investigate human remains

Police find human remains in burning vehicle near Morrin

VIDEO: Tragically Hip singer-songwriter Gord Downie dies at 53

Downie had been fighting brain cancer for over a year

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Outspoken Mountie assigned to admin duties for refusing to shave goatee

The 15-year veteran of the force said he believes the RCMP is targeting him

Victim in fatal ammonia leak remembered for his passion and smile

Friends and colleagues remember Lloyd Smith as someone who was always willing to help people

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Firefighter dies battling wildfire in Alberta

“It’s terrible. It will devastate the community for a while here. He’ll surely be missed.”

Health ministers to talk cannabis, opioids

Health ministers set to discuss cannabis and opioids during two-day meeting in Edmonton

Quebec pass controversial bill banning face coverings

Quebec lawmakers have passed a religious neutrality bill banning face coverings

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.