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Mother Nature puts on show in final session before World Cup roster announcement

VANCOUVER - The Canadian women's soccer team's last practice before Monday's World Cup roster announcement ended in dramatic fashion Friday with a hailstorm.The women had endured on-and-off rain of varying magnitude during a chilly, blustery morning session. But seconds after they left the field, hail started coming down — turning the Trillium Park artificial turf field white.The women will have an off-field gym session Saturday before taking Sunday off. On Monday, the 23-woman World Cup roster will be announced at a public event in downtown Vancouver.Not all the women were at practice Friday. Captain Christine Sinclair and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc left earlier in the day for Chicago where Sinclair's Portland Thorns will face LeBlanc's Chicago Red Stars in a NWSL game Saturday night.Fullback Rhian Wilkinson missed practice for the second straight day after tweaking a hamstring in a training match Wednesday against a boys under-17 side.The women did not hold back Friday. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod received treatment on her foot midway through the session while defender Kadeisha Buchanan left the field briefly after taking a ball to the face.Head coach John Herdman and goalkeeping coach Simon Eaddy helped make up the numbers. The women will have 10 days off after the roster announcement. They will reconvene in California, where they will play a training match against the U.S.The team will then head to the Toronto area to prepare for its final friendly before the tournament — a May 29 match against England in Hamilton.The Women's World Cup runs June 6 to July 5 in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.Canada opens in a pool with China, New Zealand and the Netherlands.———Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

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