Canada coach Francois Ratier has revealed the 28 players who will travel to New Zealand for their final three matches before Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in August.

The WRWC 2014 runners-up will tackle the Black Ferns, world champions England and Australia in the International Rugby Series between 9-17 June.

“It’s important to play the top teams before we go to the Women’s Rugby World Cup,” insisted Ratier. 

“Also, New Zealand is the best place to continue our team bonding. Rugby is a religion there and it's important for the players who have never been there to be exposed to their culture.”

Canada, number three in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings, will face their hosts at Westpac Stadium on 9 June before tackling second-ranked England four days later in Christchurch and then Australia in Rotorua on 17 June.

Three new faces

Fans of both Canada and New Zealand will watch that opening match with interest, given the two nations will meet again on the final day of pool action at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland on 17 August.

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“The focus is to be a better team after this tour in all aspects,” explained Ratier. 

“New Zealand are number one in the world and in our World Cup pool, while England are the reigning world champions and Australia will show they deserve a better ranking than where they are now (sixth).”

All bar three of the players selected to go to New Zealand were part of Canada’s dominance of the recent Can-Am Series, where they beat their hosts USA 39-5 and 37-10 in San Diego.

The additions are Alex Tessier, who missed that series through injury, Chesley Minter and Kristy Sargent. 

Canada squad: Elissa Alarie, Emily Belchos, Tyson Beukeboom, Latoya Blackwood, Andrea Burk, Olivia DeMerchant, Jacey Grusnick, Chelsea Guthrie, Magali Harvey, Lori Josephson, Brittany Kassil, Mary Jane Kirby, Kayla Mack, Carolyn McEwen, DaLeaka Menin, Barbara Mervin, Brianna Miller, Chelsey Minter, Cindy Nelles, Karen Paquin, Frederique Rajotte, Laura Russell, Kelly Russell (captain), Kristy Sargent, Alex Tessier, Amanda Thornborough, Brittany Waters, Julianne Zussman.