11/18/2014 05:04 EST | Updated 01/18/2015 05:59 EST

World Cup stars lead Canada women's sevens team ahead of Olympic qualifying series

LANGFORD, B.C. - Rugby women's World Cup stars Magali Harvey and Kelly Russell have been named to Canada's team for the opening leg women's sevens Olympic qualifying series.

The top four teams at the end of this season's Women's Sevens World Series get automatic berths into the 2016 Olympics. Canada finished third in the series the last two seasons.

The first leg of the series is Tuesday in Dubai.

"This season is all about qualifying," said Canada coach John Tait. "We want to win an event and a series, but we're focusing on getting the points needed to be top four at the end of the season.

"This core group has been together for a few seasons now and we've added some quality youth and talent along the way, making our program more competitive than any previous year."

The team will be led by captain Jen Kish, who missed the 2013 Dubai Sevens with a hamstring injury.

Harvey and Russell were members of the Canadian women's 15s team that advanced to the gold-medal match of the women's rugby World Cup earlier this year. Canada was defeated 21-9 by England in the final.

Harvey was named the IRB women's player of the year after the World Cup final. Russell was also shortlisted for the award.



Elissa Alarie, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club, Trois-Rivieres, Que.; Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, Toronto Scottish RFC, Toronto; Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RFC, Montreal; Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints, Sarnia, Ont.; Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby Quebec, Quebec City; Jennifer Kish, Edmonton Rockers RFC, Edmonton; Ghislaine Landry, Toronto Scottish RFC, Toronto; Mandy Marchak, Capilano RFC, Edmonton; Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers, Williams Lake, B.C.; Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby Quebec, Quebec City; Kelly Russell, Toronto Nomads, Bolton, Ont.; Ashley Steacy, Lethbridge Rugby Club, Lethbridge, Alta.