from Rugby Canada:
Maria received her first international cap at the 2011 Nations Cup where she first played in the second row, starting all four games of the tournament. Her selfless attitude and determination to be a stand-out as an international 15s player has seen her progress into becoming a real force on the field leading from the front. Not only is she a great player on the field, but a member of the Rugby Canada players committee. She is very articulate and driven when it comes to promoting the Fifteens game and the National Senior Women’s 15s program and has established herself as a leader in the women’s game.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be recognized as Player of the Year” says Samson, “Especially in this inaugural year of Awards. It’s really something special to be in the company of Tyler Ardron, Jen Kish and John Moonlight as Player of the Year award winners.”
Maria spent most of her pre-international playing career as an inside back until then NSWT Head Coach John Tait approached her about playing lock at a camp in early 2011. “I learned to scrummage, jump and lift quite quickly. Tait’s experience as an international lock helped immensely as he immediately took me under his wing.” Maria will undoubtedly be a force at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France considering her quick progression into the forwards and her unrelenting attitude to be one of the best in the world.
Other Women Award winners include Jen Kish & Bianca Farella.
Jen won the Sevens Player of the Year having helped Canada to strong performances on the new IRB Women’s Sevens World Circuit. Kish, one of the world’s leading Sevens players, was rewarded following several stand-out showings for her country, and she is expected to play a key role this year a the World Cup.
Bianca won the Young Player of the Year award. The speedy Farella was twice named the top performer of an IRB Women’s Sevens sanctioned event in 2012, at the NACRA festival in Ottawa and at the December World Series stop in Dubai. She’s also been named the 2012 CIS Rookie of the Year with Concordia.