Calgary Native Made International Debut in 2011 Against South Africa
After many years, the Canadian Rugby Foundation (CRF) and Rugby Canada have returned to the practice of awarding actual caps to those players playing their first international game. Maria Samson earned her first cap against South Africa during the 2011 Nations Cup in Oakville, ON. Since joining the national team she has earned 21 caps for Canada. She has played for ten different clubs across the country including spearheading the creation of a women’s team for the Dog River Howlers Rugby Club. She has been a member of Team Alberta since 2008, captaining the team since 2013. She was also captain of the inaugural Senior Women’s Prairie Wolfpack Team last year.
“The cap was presented by Larry Jones, (pictured left) a Rugby Canada Board Member and the chair of the 2015 Women’s Fundraising Dinner in Calgary that raised over $25,000 for the National Senior Women’s’ Program, as well as Al Charron, (pictured right) Canada’s most capped player and manager of the National Players Support Program.
“I think I’m extremely lucky to be able to receive my cap, at home, in Calgary during the halftime of the Canada vs Russia international men’s rugby game. I was also grateful that my family, mother, two sisters, nieces and nephew and aunt and uncle were in attendance from out of town. It was extra special as my husband, Mozac, was playing in the game and had one heck of a performance, said Samson.
Maria was named the 2012 Rugby Canada Female Player of the Year, and was also the recipient of the Colette McAuley Award in 2013. She was a key member of the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup silver medal winning team in Paris. Last year, Maria was recognized as one of the Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 for her role in sport advocacy and community leadership. She continues to give back to the sport as an athlete ambassador for Right To Play, Fast & Female and Kidsport, and is actively involved in AthletesCan as a board member.
Rugby Canada performs an official capping ceremony to present a National Team Player with their first “cap” – no matter how long ago it happened. A cap is a term for a player’s appearances in a game at an international level.