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Keane named to Maple Leafs rugby team

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Dave Paul 

For the second time in her rugby career, Sarnia’s Daria Keane has been named to a national team.

Keane was selected to the roster of Canada’s ‘Maple Leafs’ 15’s team that will face the U.S. All-Americans in a two-game series in Salt Lake City, next month.

In 2013, Keane played for Canada’s tournament-winning Under-20 team at the Nations Cup tournament in England.

As great as that experience was, Keane said her selection to the Maple Leafs squad might be an even bigger achievement.

“I’d say this is definitely right there at the top of my rugby accomplishments,” said the 23-year-old Northern Collegiate grad.

The Maple Leafs squad is one tier below the senior women’s national team and, in fact, the senior team will be in Salt Lake City at the same time as the Maple Leafs, playing in a women’s rugby ‘Super Series’ tournament. The rosters for the two teams were released simultaneously by Rugby Canada last week.

Keane attended a four-day national team camp in April in Guelph. She thought she performed well, but she wasn’t sure if it would be enough to earn a Maple Leafs roster spot.

“The camp was really intense,” she said. “I tried my best … I really just wanted to learn as much as possible and have a good time. But I was happy with my performance.”

The Maple Leafs team is a developmental squad, said Keane, designed to add depth to the national women’s program and to produce new players for the senior national team.

Keane said her “ultimate goal” is to play for the national team. There’s a Women’s Rugby World Cup coming up in 2017.

“I don’t know about my chances to make the senior women’s team” that quickly, she said. “I’m so new to the program … and there’s a lot of depth at my position (eighth man).”

When she returns from Salt Lake City, she will finish out the Ontario Women’s League season with the Guelph Redcoats. She attended the University of Guelph and now works for the city.

She has also been working out with Ontario’s senior provincial team, the Storm, and is a candidate to play for the squad at the Canadian Championships in August.

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