The player base elected Cindy Nelles as fifteens representative, Bianca Farella as sevens representative and the committee chose Mary-Jane Addeo (nee Kirby) as a general representative. Cindy, Bianca and Mary-Jane join Karen Paquin and Sara Kaljuvee on the committee. The committee wishes to thank Elissa Alarie, Andrea Burk and Ghislaine Landry who completed their terms at the end of 2018 and provided immense value to the Senior Women’s Programs for the last two years.
The impetus for the players’ committee is to have a direct line of communication between Rugby Canada and its athletes. Players’ Committees are one of the most effective mechanism by which athletes can influence change and champion athlete rights in high-performance sport at the national team level.
The committee is currently chaired by former international and current Rugby Canada Board Member, Maria Samson. The group meets regularly with the CEO and senior members of Rugby Canada. By providing information to the board of directors, coaches and the Rugby Canada leadership team, the Players’ Committee ensures that the voices of athletes are represented in a collaborative, professional and effective manner.
Meet the Committee:
Jane Addeo (nee Kirby)
Jane played on the National XVs from 2013-2017 attending both the 2014 World Cup and 2017 World Cup after working her way up through the age grade divisions with Rugby Canada. She has been a member of the Rugby Ontario team for ten years, sitting in the Captaincy position for the majority of those. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Geography and is currently completing her Bachelor of Education at York University. Jane’s intentions with the Player’s Committee is to be a representative voice for the players to continue to advocate for the women’s side.
Bianca began playing rugby in Quebec in 2004 and rose amongst the age-grade provincial levels before making her first Canadian roster at the U18 level. Bianca has been part of the Nationals Women’s Sevens program since 2012. She has played in over 150 sevens matches and is currently sitting at 4th in the world for number of tries scored. She collected eight fifteens caps for Canada before committing full-time to sevens in 2014. She has won a silver medal at the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup and a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Bianca balances her training with part-time schooling at the University of Victoria where she is studying towards a degree in Psychology. Bianca is a leader in the daily training environment and contributes as a liaison towards the player-coach relationship in the sevens program. She has seen the growth of the sevens program since its early beginnings and has a fresh eye on the areas where it can continue to flourish. She will apply her skill-set as a leader toward achieving gender equality in rugby in Canada.
Sara is a current member of the Women’s Sevens team having competed at 18 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Stops since 2013. She also received her first 15s cap for the National Senior Women’s Fifteens team in 2013. She was involved with Rugby Ontario from 2009-2014 (U17, U20, Senior). Sara is pursuing a BSc in Kinesiology from St. Francis Xavier University. Sara wants to have an impact for the future generations that are to follow through the program through the PC. As the system continues to grow, she is eager to contribute to its development and its progression forward, especially for women in sport.
Cindy is a current member of the fifteens team, earning her first cap in 2014 and 19 caps to date. She also was a member of the U20 Canada team and has also been involved in Rugby Ontario since 2009. Cindy has a Bachelor of Engineering from McMaster University and is currently working as a civil engineer with WSP in New Zealand. Cindy’s vision is to ensure her teammates have a voice and to continue to improve the game of rugby in Canada and around the world for future players.
Karen began playing rugby in Québec, representing the province at the U19 and Senior level from 2005-2012. She has 26 fifteens caps and 20 Sevens Series appearances. Karen attended the Université Laval (Baccalauréat en Génie Chimique) and has embraced a role with the Minister of Education in Quebec (Ambassadrice de l’esprit sportif pour le Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur du Québec). In her own words, Karen thinks that international women’s rugby is going through a phase of important change and wants to be part of the Players’ Committee to help Canadian women’s rugby evolve to remain as one of the leading nations. She believes that it is very important to be proactive in order to maintain and improve rugby both on and off the field as we move towards gender equality: “Je pense que le rugby féminin international est en train de vivre de profonds changements et je souhaite faire partie du comité des joueuses afin d’aider à ce que le rugby féminin Canadien continues d’évoluer. Je crois qu’il est important d’être proactif afin de maintenir et améliorer le rugby autant sur le terrain que dans les coulisses alors que nous nous dirigeons vers l’égalité des genres.”