VANCOUVER- Heather Moyse's hectic 2010 season has already produced an Olympic bobsled gold medal.
Now the two-sport star from Summerside, P.E.I. is taking aim at winning another gold when Canada's fourth-ranked national women's rugby team heads to England this August for the 2010 World Cup.
After taking a two-year leave of absence to focus on her Olympic sliding pursuit, the 31-year-old Moyse returned to the rugby pitch Monday night in Victoria, scoring the winning try with just five minutes to go in a 14-8 win over the U.S. The teams play another match Friday at Bear Mountain Stadium in Langford, B.C.
"I feel a little better after the game than before, mentally, at least," Moyse said Tuesday, minutes before a team workout.
"I just needed to get out on the field and get that under my belt. It has been a long time; it's been over two years since I've been on the field with these girls and they've made huge advancements and progress.
"It's good to get back but there is always that anxiety and those nerves about what people expect of me or what I expect of myself. You're always hoping that you don't want to let anyone down. It's good that I got on that field."
Ashley MacDonald of Corran Ban is also playing for the Canadian team.
Moyse said she decided to come back to rugby during a much needed period of rest and recovery this spring in P.E.I. The 2009-10 winter season had been draining and Moyse wasn't 100 per cent convinced she wanted to give rugby another shot.
"Post Olympic Games I was really tired from the season," she said. "There'd been a lot of travelling and competing. I was contemplating whether I really wanted to play rugby this summer or whether it was because people were expecting me to or because I'd told people I was going to. I went home to P.E.I. for a week and I thought 'Yes, I do want to play. I love the game.' "
Rugby sevens has been added to the Olympic roster for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Moyse said she's not even thinking about that. She will compete on the World Cup bobsled circuit next winter but she's not thinking about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi,Russia either.
It'll be one season at a time and for now the only thing on Moyse's mind is earning a spot on this rugby team. There are 30 players vying for the 26 World Cup roster spots that will be finalized in mid-July.
Moyse has been training for about a month. She played about 30 minutes Monday and hopes to get better as the season progresses.
"The half-hour or so that I was playing I was able to at least hold my own, but that's where I am right now," she said. "I'm hoping every game I might be able to play a little more an get that endurance up when World Cup comes."
For Moyse, who led Canada to a fourth-place finish in the 2006 World Cup in Edmonton and led all scores with seven tries, nothing is guaranteed.
"She has to perform on the field of play," said head coach Johnathan Long. "If she performs on the field of play and does well then she gets the opportunity to go to World Cup. I've told her that and she understands that concept. It's the same with all the other girls.
"She's had a little less time to prepare than the other girls so she's on a bit of catch-up but she's an athlete. She's a good rugby player."
Moyse wants to win a job. She wouldn't have it any other way.
"I would be really disappointed if anyone ever thought I was given a bye just because of what I've done on the international circuit with bobsleigh," she said. "I want to make my name in rugby for what I can do on the field and not for what I've done in something else. That's my challenge."
Over the years Moyse has been pretty good at meeting challenges.
She started bobsled in 2005-06 and finished fourth at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Last February she won Olympic gold as the brakeperson in Kaillie Humphries's sled.
On the rugby pitch she was an all-star fullback at the '06 World Cup. Two years later Moyse was the leading scorer in the Hong Kong sevens tournament with 11 tries.
So, if everything goes well, Moyse should add strength to what is already a solid team.
"There's so much talent on this side," said Long. "We've got an opportunity to really put a performance in for the World Cup."
Canada lost to England in the 2006 semifinal and then lost to France to finish fourth.
The team leaves for England Aug. 11. World Cup play starts on Aug. 16 with Canada's opener coming on Aug. 20 against Scotland.
(Includes information from The Guardian)