England, winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris last Sunday, comes after their disappointments in 2002, 2006, and 2010, with a convincing win over Canada 21-9.
What a performance.
After the celebrations, their first World Cup title in 20 years, the victorious rugby union squad will return home and for many of the players, it will be back to full-time work within days.
What is remarkable about their great sporting achievement, is the fact not one of the team are full-time professional athletes, unlike the men, they are all are amateurs – some have made serious financial losses to play the game at this level.
The squad includes: personal trainers, lifeguard, students, teachers, a vet, a police officer and a plumber among its number.
As one player Marlie Packer said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, “With our jobs it’s a bit tricky. I’m a plumber but I’m really lucky because my employer is very good to me,” and England’s Becky Essex, modestly explained in the same newspaper, ‘This is a fantastic sport and we’re just grateful to be able to play for our country, it’s a tremendous honour.
So we salute you all and raise a glass to:
Danielle (Nollie) Waterman, Katherine (Kat) Merchant, Kay Wilson, Emily Scarratt, Rachel Burford, Claire Allen, Katy McLean, Ceri Large, Natasha Hunt, Rochelle Clark, Sophie Hemming, Victoria Fleetwood, Joanna McGilchrist, Tamara Taylor, Marlie Packer, Margaret (Maggie) Alphonsi, Alexandra (Alex) Matthews, Sarah Hunter, Emma Croker, Laura Keats, Rebecca (Becky) Essex, La Toya Mason,
Photo: Press Association Image