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Mackenzie Carson is relishing his return to Canada in a Red Roses jersey

Mackenzie Carson is relishing his return to Canada in a Red Roses jersey

Written by Elise Hammersley

Mackenzie Carson grew up dreaming of playing Canada Now she is relishing the prospect of returning to the country of her birth to represent it England In WXV 1.

The freewheeling player was born and raised in British Columbia and played three caps for the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Red Roses under new eligibility rules.

Having seen her progress stalled by injury across the pond, the 26-year-old thought her Test career was over before it had really begun, but now she's making the most of her second chance.

“When I was growing up, my goal was to play for Canada. I was born there and it's something I wanted to do,” Carson said.

“When it wasn't happening for me and I wasn't selected, I felt like it was the end but in reality it was the beginning of something.

“To have a second chance for such a wonderful country is very special.

“I still have to pinch myself almost every day.”

Mackenzie Carson earned three caps for Canada before switching allegiance

Mackenzie Carson earned three caps for Canada before switching allegiance (IMAGO/PPAUK via Reuters Connect (Beat Media Group subscription))

Carson made her Red Roses debut in last year's Six Nations and made her first overseas tour with the team in the inaugural WXV 1 tournament in New Zealand In the fall.

Adding even more excitement to an already lively tournament, the new Red Rose faced her former nation for the first time.

“WXV is a tournament that everyone looks forward to now, and being able to play in the top four countries and at different venues in New Zealand was great,” she said. “It was great to gain more experience against teams like New Zealand and Australia.

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“Canada is always a tough team to play against. When we played them in WXV I was like ‘Oh, I know all these guys, it’s okay’ but when we got out of there it wasn’t what I expected.

“It was very strange growing up with all of them and then playing against them.

“They are so passionate and will never give up and that is something we can take away from them – their passion to play to represent Canada and move women’s soccer forward.”

It was announced last week that Canada will host this year's edition of WXV 1, meaning Carson could get the chance to play in front of her old home crowd again, this time for the opposition.

“It's really exciting for me on a personal level,” the prop said. “It's an added attraction for me to perform in the Six Nations and get the chance to return to the place where I was born.

“It is important that we take the game around the world, especially in a tournament with a global nature.”

After losing in the 2022 Rugby World Cup final, the Red Roses have entered a new era with new coach John Mitchell.

Carson is convinced New England are onto something special, especially with another Rugby World Cup around the corner in 2025, this time on home soil.

“He (Mitchell) has been amazing so far, he brings so much experience and knowledge,” she said. “I didn't have a coach who could read people well.

“The way he sees us developing and the vision he has for the team is really special – we have a new style of attack, and he has really motivated everyone.

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“I was talking to the girls the other day and they were telling me how they haven't learned much about rugby for a while.

“We are growing and putting these pieces in place before the World Cup.”

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