Barrie Central Collegiate may be no more, but the influence the former Barrie high school has on the Canadian rugby scene continues to be a big one.
Two of Central’s rugby stars will be suiting up for the Canadian women’s sevens when they travel to Kitakyushu, Japan for the fourth stop on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series on Apr. 20-21.
Barrie natives Emma Chown (Aurora Barbarians) and Kaili Lukan have been named to the Canadian roster that will be aiming for a podium finish that would put them in good position to claim a ticket to Tokyo 2020, handed to the top-four finishers at end of the series.
Canada is currently tied for third in the women’s sevens series with Australia and are coming off a fifth-place finish in Sydney, Australia. Chown and Lukan will be looking to help Canada erase the disappointing performance last year in Kitakyushu when they finished outside the top eight for the first time in their history.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been in a really long time,” head coach John Tait said on the Rugby Canada website. “This is probably the toughest selection we’ve had since Rio.”
The 23-year-old Chown made her debut for the Canadian sevens in 2017 on their series stop in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Lukan, 24, made her debut in Clermont-Ferrand, France in 2017.
In Japan, Canada will be competing in Pool B and will face Spain, China and Australia on the opening day of the competition, which will be aired live on CBC Sports.
Next up for Canada after the stop in Kitakyushu is their hometown series in Langford, BC on May 11-12.
photo: Barrie native Emma Chown will suit up for Canada at the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, Apr. 20-21, in Kitakyushu, Japan. Rugby Canada photo.