By Brian Lowe,
The Canada Rugby League Association (CRLA) is closing in on naming a new head coach for the women’s national team, the Ravens.
The Canadian women are currently on a historic dual tour of Serbia with the Canadian men’s national team, the Wolverines, and are being led by one of their more experienced players, MacKenzie Fane.
Fane was on the Canadian squad for the inaugural Americas Nines tournament last spring. She also played for the Ravens at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Nines and the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup (WRLWC).
The Ravens are due to play their final game against the Serbian women’s national team Saturday. Canada won the first international between the two sides 34-6 last weekend in Belgrade.
CRLA president Bob Jowett says the Serbia tour was planned before the search started for a new coach.
“We expect to complete the Raven’s head coach selection procedure within a week or so,” he tells RugbyLeaguePlanet.
“I can tell you that we received 16 high quality applications – the number and consistent quality of applicants has made the selection process difficult!”
The successful candidate will be appointed for an initial two-year period with an option for an extension.
The Ravens have been without a full-time head coach since Englishman Mike Castle officially stepped aside. He was their interim coach for the 2017 WRLWC.
Women’s rugby league has come a long way in just a short time in Canada. The game has only been around in the North American nation since 2017, prior to the World Cup.
Most of the players on the Ravens’ initial WRLWC squad came from rugby union and consequently it was a reasonably steep learning curve for them to pick up the nuances of league, but they adapted quickly and well and were competitive at the World Cup.
Canada is one of eight countries that have been confirmed as participants in the 2021 WRLWC in the UK.
The Canadian women are currently ranked #4 in the world.