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Rugby

Magali Harvey calls Olympic exclusion 'slap in the face'

Canadian rugby player Magali Harvey, who was named player of the year in 2014, did not mince words when describing her exclusion from the Olympic roster, calling the decision a "slap in the face."

Quebec native says her love of rugby has been damaged

Magali Harvey, seen above in a previous match, scored a try for Canada in a 48-7 rout of Ireland as their November tour began in Dublin on Saturday. (Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

Canadian rugby player Magali Harvey did not mince words when describing her exclusion from the Olympic team.

"Honestly, regarding the sevens program, I think it's a big slap in the face," Harvey said in a conference call Wednesday. 

"Would I ever go back and be treated the way that I was? No, I wouldn't want to."

Harvey​, who was named World Rugby's female player of the year in 2014, still wished her teammates well heading into rugby sevens' Olympic debut.

"I can't be bitter about my teammates and I can only be excited for them because it's a great opportunity, it's a great experience and at the end of the day they didn't choose to be selected or not to be selected," Harvey said.

"I'm still excited, I'm still happy for them and I really hope that they're able to do well," Harvey said, insisting that she doesn't "want to put a cloud in their day."

When asked about  her relationship with Canadian head coach John Tait, Harvey spoke bluntly.

"He's my coach and I'm his athlete. That's my relationship," she said.

'I'm frustrated, I'd be lying if I wasn't'

The 25-year-old winger from Quebec City missed three of five events on the HSBC Women's Sevens Series this year due to injury. She scored nine tries in her two tournaments.

After Rugby Canada's Olympic team announcement in early July, Harvey said her love of the game had been damaged.

"How could it not?" Harvey said. "I've worked five years for this, I've pushed five years and it's just been one big buildup and at the end of the buildup it definitely didn't have the outcome that I wanted."

"My confidence definitely has been affected and I'm frustrated, I'd be lying if I wasn't."

The door to Rio was left ajar when Harvey was short-listed as a reserve member of the team. However, she was not selected, according to her agent Marie-Anik L'Allier.

Rugby Canada has yet to respond to CBC Sports' request for comment.

As for Harvey, her focus now turns to the full 15-a-side version of rugby.

"Right now I would definitely love to be a part of the 15s World Cup [in Ireland in 2017]," Harvey said. "It's a different coach [Francois Ratier], a different atmosphere and I think it'll be good to get change.

"In terms of playing rugby in general, I'm open right now to options, including going overseas and just, you know, trying to love rugby again."


With files from CBC Sports

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