Laura Russell is one of two Cowichan Piggies players headed to New Zealand for the Pacific Four Series next week. (Rugby Canada photo)

Laura Russell is one of two Cowichan Piggies players headed to New Zealand for the Pacific Four Series next week. (Rugby Canada photo)

Cowichan Piggies Russell and Beukeboom off to Pacific Four Series

Laura Russell is among Canada’s all-time leaders in games played

Cowichan Piggies rugby players Laura Russell and Tyson Beukeboom are among 32 Canadians who will kick off the “Journey to the World Cup” tour with the national women’s XV team next week.

Russell and Beukeboom were named to the roster for the Pacific Four Series in New Zealand that will see third-ranked Canada play matches against fifth-ranked Australia, the seventh-ranked U.S., and second-ranked New Zealand between June 5 and 17.

The group will be the basis for squad selection for home tests matches against sixth-ranked Italy at Starlight Stadium in Langford on July 24 and ninth-ranked Wales in Halifax on Aug. 27, Canada’s last matches prior to the World Cup this fall.

Russell made history last November, becoming just the fourth Canadian woman to earn 50 caps for the national team, joining her sister Kelly, the current coach of Rugby Canada’s Maple Leafs Academy program, Gillian Florence and Maria Gallo. Russell’s feat was recognized in a ceremony at the Langford Sevens on May 1.

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