The current Canadian National Women’s Rugby team has achieved something no team before them has – they are in the World Cup final.
A day after beating host country France to advance to the final sport, team veteran Julianne Zussman says her teammates are trying to take it all in, looking through the countless messages of support they’re receiving.
“We just feel so grateful to have the country behind us and we’re just so excited to play. And we’re excited to play in front of Canadians on TV in the sport that we love.”
Canada faces England, whom they tied earlier this week, on Sunday.
“We are going in to win it. It’s just nice to be smiling on our way to the field because we’re just in such a great place to play and give them a run for their money.”
This series is the first time a national sports channel has broadcast Canadian women’s rugby in Canada.
Maria Gallo, who played on the national team from 1998 to 2010 and now coaches the women’s rugby team at UBC, says the exposure the team is getting is priceless.
“The rugby fan is always going to follow the rugby team in obscure streams but to have it on television is just targeting a mass amount of young people and just showing them that there is a sport out there for women that is very competitive, at the highest level, and it’s something that you can attain.”
Gallo says she expects the team’s current success will result in more girls taking up the sport over the next few years.