A former Team Canada captain who appeared at three Women’s Rugby World Cups and grew up in Williams Lake will be sharing her wisdom with the future of the sport Tuesday in the lakecity.
Leslie Cripps, who was inducted Saturday into the BC Rugby Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Vancouver, began her playing career in Williams Lake as a member of the Hustlers women’s rugby football club, and is home visiting family following the hall of fame banquet.
Cripps, who now lives in London, England, joined six others at the induction ceremony on Jan. 12.
“It was really, really nice,” Cripps told the Tribune “I got to see loads of people I hadn’t seen for a long time and was inducted with other fantastic rugby players, coaches and referees. It was just really special.”
She represented Canada at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and was captain and 2010.
Back in Williams Lake, Cripps said she was introduced to the sport by her former high school coaches Mike Levitt and Lorne Sherlock, but didn’t dive into international competition until her first year of university in 1996 at 18 years old.
Her former coach in Williams Lake, Lorne Sherlock, made the trip to Vancouver for the induction, along with Williams Lake Rustlers Rugby Football Club president Rodger Stewart and her brother, Alex Cripps, who surprised Leslie at the ceremony.
Cripps has helped put Williams Lake on the map in the rugby world, and has helped open doors for players like Kayla Moleschi (Olympic bronze medalist), Jake Ilnicki (Team Canada) and many, many others transition from the high school game to university, senior and international levels of play.
“Thanks so much to Lorne Sherlock for putting in the bid for the hall of fame and everyone who helped him, and the Rustlers rugby club,” Cripps said.
“It was because of Williams Lake I had these opportunities to play, and they supported a women’s club in 1996 when I started rugby. I just really appreciate everything and the support they’ve always given me.”