Leslie Cripps (right) with her 2019 BC Rugby Hall of Fame induction plaque.

Rugby Canada is pleased to announce the class of 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees.

The Rugby Canada Hall of Fame was established to honour and preserve rugby’s culture and heritage in Canada by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of rugby participants throughout our country. These four Canadian rugby heroes and one outstanding team join the 23 individuals and one other team enshrined since 2016.
2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup Team  
The 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup Team delivered breakout performances in the lead up to and during the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France. This historic group of elite athletes turned in a magical performance in 2014 making it all the way to the Final to be narrowly defeated by England.  Their 2nd place finish is highest Rugby World Cup finish of any Canadian side.  Additionally, six players were named to the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup “Dream Team” as voted by fans from around the globe and following the final, Magali Harvey was named the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby Player of the Year.

The road to the final game in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) included many remarkable elements, none of which could have coalesced without the combined talent and commitments of the players, coaches, and provincial unions.

Preparations for the 2014 Rugby World Cup included two Nations Cup competitions held in North America in 2011 and 2013, during which the Canadian squad recorded its first and second-ever victories over England.

During the 2014 WRWC pool rounds, having defeated Spain (31-5) and Samoa (42-7), Canada tied England in its third pool round game. This put Canada ahead of New Zealand in the tally of competition points and sent the Canadian squad to the semi-finals.

Canada met France in the semi-final match in front of 20,000 French supporters walking away with a narrow win (18-16) earning a spot in the final. Canada would conclude its historic run with a hard fought 21-9 loss to England. Nevertheless, the team managed to raise the bar to a level never before reached by a Canadian National Rugby team.  In doing so, they captured the hearts and inspired the entire rugby community and sports fans across Canada.

Canada’s 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup Team:  
Kim Donaldson, Mary Jane Kirby, Olivia DeMerchant, Hilary Leith, Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, Laura Russell, Tyson Beukeboom, Latoya Blackwood, Kayla Mack, Maria Samson, Barbara Mervin, Jacey Murphy, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell, Stephanie Bernier, Julia Sugawara, Emily Belchos, Julianne Zussman, Andrea Burk, Mandy Marchuk, Amanda Thornborough, Brittany Benn, Jessica Dovanne, Magali Harvey, Brittany Waters, Cindy Nelles, and Elissa Alarie.

Leslie Cripps 
Leslie Cripps made forty-seven international appearances representing Rugby Canada, and dutifully served as captain on twenty (2007-2010) occasions. A national team representative for a decade, Leslie represented Canada at the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup’s.

Leslie was first introduced to rugby at Williams Lake Rugby Club in 1996 at the age of 18. In the early years of her career Leslie played club rugby with UVic Valkaries, which became UVic Vikes, then Velox and onto James Bay AA in Victoria, BC.  She would go on to join Saracens in London, England in 2001, making an immediate impact and winning the “New Player of the Year” award.  Over a long career with Sarries’ Leslie spent two seasons as captain and help win the league title five times.

In 2000, she played for Canada’s U23 team against the USA and claimed her first cap for the senior side the following year when Canada took-on our neighbours in Saranac Lake. Leslie’s competitive relationship with USA came full circle during her final game on the international pitch when Canada played against the familiar rival in Surrey, England at the 2010 WRWC.

Leslie’s international honours include being involved in the World 15s Team in 2003, playing the world Champions, NZ, in two test matches.  She also captained the Nomads – the select Barbarian side – in 2008 in a curtain raiser to the Men’s South Africa vs New Zealand fixture, and a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday.

She was a great leader on and off the pitch and her impactful presence as an international prop in the scrum and in open play made her a threat for opponents to contend with.

Leslie was inducted into the BC Rugby Hall of Fame in 2019.

Josée Lacasse  
Josée Lacasse began playing for Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team in 1992 at the age of 22 as a prop forward, and subsequently represented Canada in three Women’s Rugby World Cup’s in 1994, 1998, and 2002.  One of the key leaders on the national team, she was the epitome of a team-first mindset.  Josée retired in 2002 with 29 caps, which was the most of any Canadian woman to that point.

Josée first played for the Stingers at Concordia University, where she completed a Bachelor’s of Science, and was a key player in their great successes in the early 90’s. She was named fittest athlete in 1992-1993 and received the Academic Athlete of the Year award in 1991-1992. In 1993, she was a finalist for Concordia Athlete of the year, and she holds the distinction of being the first female rugby player inducted into the Concordia Sports Hall of Fame. In her last two years, Josee was Concordia’s captain and Most Valuable Player.

In 1998, Josée became the first Canadian woman and only the second North American player selected to the All-World team playing against the Black Ferns following the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Amsterdam.

As a member of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC, Josée was part of an amazing era for the club having an undefeated season and a five-year winning season streak in the early 1990’s.

In addition, Josée was a valued member of both BC and Quebec provincial teams. She was a member of the BC team which won two National Championship including a 1995 victory in which she was captain.

Since retiring from playing in 2002, Josée continues to give back to the game and the rugby community.  In 2002, she was a Championship winning head coach in 2002 with the Concordia Stingers and the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC Women’s Premiére team.  On any Monday night in the Spring, Summer and Fall, Josée can easily be found at rugby fields in Ste-Anne’s coaching youth rugby teams in the local Saints rugby program. She continues to support club fundraising initiatives, and proudly performs community volunteer work such as sandbagging against floods and helping at the local foodbank.

Moira Shiels  
Moira Shiels’ rugby journey began with the Ajax Wanderers Rugby Club in Ontario, initially with sevens in 1987 and fifteens the following year helping Ajax win 5 Provincial championships.  In Vancouver, Moira was a member of the Brit Lions Rugby Club winning 3 Provincial championships in BC.  She would return to Ontario and join the Toronto Scottish RFC in 2001.

At the Provincial level, Moira was a member of both the Ontario Senior Women’s and the BC Senior Women’s teams.  She would win 3 National championships with Ontario and 1 National championship with BC.

Moira debuted for Canada’s National Senior Women’s team in 1996 against New Zealand.  She would go on to make 25 appearances at hooker for Canada and served as captain on 11 occasions.  A natural leader who’s work-rate and dedication was second to none as exemplified by her kicking accuracy.    Moira was a stand-out for Canada in two Women’s Rugby World Cups in 1998 when Canada were ranked #8 and again in 2002 when the team had moved up to a #4 ranking.  Moira also represented Canada at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament in 1997.

Moira’s achievements on the field are matched in her profession life as a Firefighter serving her community of Richmond Hill, Ontario.   In the year 2000 she stepped away from Rugby for one year to finish her Firefighter training and is now in her 19th year as a Firefighter.    She was promoted to Acting Captain in 2012 and promoted to Captain in 2019 making her the first female Captain in the history of the department.

For over 30 years Moira has been involved in rugby from playing-to-coaching and more recently supporting Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team following them in their travels to Ireland in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.  Rugby is truly a big part of her life and her intensity and impact on the field are hard to match.

Winston Stanley 
Winston Stanley began his rugby journey in Victoria, BC at Oak Bay Secondary School under former Canada head coach Gary Johnston.  He would go on to play for James Bay AA, University of BC, Kats RFC, British Columbia, and Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team.

Winston’s international debut for Canada came in 1994 as a 19-year-old in both Sevens and Fifteens, a feat no Canadian player had accomplished to that point. He played one match for Canada in the Hong Kong Sevens in March 1994 and earned his first Fifteens cap against the United States in May. He would represent British Columbia in the 1994 Labatt Award game against Ontario, against the New Zealand Divisional XV in 1995, and in the 1995 and 1998 Canadian Rugby Championships.

From 1994 to 2002, Winston represented Canada in Sevens competing in Hong Kong, Taipei, Fiji, Dubai, South Africa, Ponta del Este, Mar del Planta, Wellington, Japan, Beijing and Malaysia as well as the Rugby World Cup Sevens (1997, 2001) and Commonwealth Games (1998, 2002).

Winston’s world-class pace and ball-handling skills at wing, center and fullback made him a premier player for Canada throughout his international career.   He would play in three Rugby World Cups in 1995, 1999 and 2003.  By the time he retired following the 2003 RWC, Winston had earned 66 caps in Fifteens and was Canada’s leading try-scorer with 24.

Overseas, Winston played professionally for Blackheath Rugby, Leicester Tigers, Worcester Warriors and Leeds Tykes.  In the 2000-2001 season, he helped Leicester win the English Premiership title and the Heineken Cup (European Championship) with Winston playing in both the semi-final and the final.

Following his playing career Winston remained involved with rugby in the community as a coach.  He was inducted into the BC Rugby Hall of Fame in 2018.