‘Too small to play’ – Ghislaine Landry beats odds to rise to the top

By Alex Dudley

Although she is small in stature, Ghislaine Landry is undoubtedly a towering figure when she gets on the rugby pitch.

The Canadian superstar leads the women’s World Rugby Sevens Series in terms of total points- with a massive 106. The 30-year-old has also gone on to become the World Series’ all-time leading female scorer, accumulating 1,090 points during her illustrious career.

However, her career almost didn’t even get off the ground. She was in the programme for four years before making her Canada Sevens Debut in 2011.

The massive change in her career came when John Tait was named head coach of the senior team. Tait was keen to give the agile players a chance to shine. This although the higher ranked figures at Canadian rugby told Landry that she was “too small” and “too weak”.

Speaking as part of the upcoming HSBC documentary called From ‘too small to play to record-breaking rugby points scorer, she said: “To be honest, if John didn’t come in I don’t know where my rugby career would be right now. The timing was good and, for me, John was a fresh set of eyes.”

Tait was vindicated in his choice to give 1.6-metre-superstar her chance as she has gone on to win gold at the Pan-America Games, while she also won bronze at the Olympic Games in Rio three years ago.

As she reflected on the struggles to get to the top, she said: “If you have an easy path the whole way you don’t develop that fire and that grit that comes from hard times. For me being told ‘no’ and being told I was ‘too small’, it created a lot more fire inside.

“I loved the game before but I think when someone tries to take that away from you, you realise you’re in it for the right reasons, and for me, it drove a deep passion for what I was doing on and off the field.”

Landry will be hoping to continue her fine form as the World Series continues in Hong Kong in early April. Canada sit third in the standings, behind New Zealand and USA; who are first and second respectively.

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