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John Moonlight, Ashley Steacy win Rugby Canada sevens player awards

04/17/2015 01:31 EDT | Updated 07/02/2015 03:59 EDT
VICTORIA - John Moonlight was named Rugby Canada's male sevens player of the year for a third time Thursday night.

The 27-year-old from Pickering, Ont., led Canada to its best ever finish in the HSBC World Series when it placed sixth overall in the 2013-14 season, which include reaching the final of an event (Glasgow) for the first time. Moonlight joined teammate Phil Mack in the Series "Dream Team."

Mack, Justin Douglas and Harry Jones were also nominated for the 2014 award. Moonlight has won the trophy every year since the awards program started in 2012.

Ashley Steacy of Lethbridge, Alta., a five-foot-two dynamo seen as one of Canada's top defenders, was named top women's sevens player. The 27-year-old Steacy will captain Canada this weekend in nearby Langford as the World Rugby Women's Series comes to Canada for the first time.

She steps in as skipper for the injured Jen Kish, who won the 2012 and 2013 awards.

Kish was also nominated in 2014, as were Bianca Farella and Ghislaine Landry.

The women's 15s player of the year went to both Magali Harvey and Kelly Russell, who helped Canada to second place at the 2014 World Cup in France. The team drew a standing ovation at the awards dinner at B.C. Government House.

Harvey, a fullback-winger from Quebec City, was named the IRB Women's Player of the Year after the tournament. Russell, a No. 8 from Caledon, Ont., is one of Canada's most decorated female players and captains the 15-woman team.

Other nominees were Stephanie Bernier and Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid.

Winger/centre Jeff Hassler of Okotoks, Alta., was named men's 15s player of the year after a breakout season with Welsh club side Ospreys. He had 12 tries and was named to the Guinness PRO12 league team of the year.

Also nominated were Hubert Buydens, Ciaran Hearn and Jason Marshall.

Buydens won the Canadian Shield Award as male player of the year, as voted on by his peers. The Saskatoon prop made it to the final of the Air New Zealand Cup with the Manawatu Turbos in 2014.

Veteran North Vancouver winger Andrea Burk won the inaugural Gillian Florence Award as top women's player chosen by her peers.

Other winners Thursday night:

— Young male player of the year: Lucas Rumball, Toronto.

— Young female player of the year: Breanne Nicholas, Blenheim, Ont.

— Provincial Union: Rugby Ontario.

— Volunteer: Connie McGinley, Vancouver.

— Match official: Sherry Trumbull, Vancouver.

— Male coach of the year: Shaun Allen, McMaster.

— Female coach of the year: Jo Hull, Edmonton.

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