Rachael Burford, a local 19 year old rugby player, has been selected for the England Women’s World Cup Squad for this 4 yearly event being played in Canada this September. Rachael a product of Medway Rugby Club’s mini and youth sections has had a hard road to the top. She was selected for the very successful South East Team that won the regional cup and the Lichfield “Ten’s”; she was then selected to go to the RFUW’s first Rugby Academy at Bath at the age of 16. Still playing for Medway Women Rachael was then advised to join a premiership club to raise her experience levels.
She joined Henley which meant many round trips for training and playing (with the help of her chauffer Dad!); she was selected for England U19’s. She then suffered her first setback as two serious injuries virtually meant that she missed nearly two seasons of rugby. This season she was picked for the RFUW “Elite Squad” (top 44 players in the country) whilst playing for the England “A” XV.
This season all the “elite” players were unable to play for their clubs as they and a further 44 players played in a “Super League” to hone them for the World Cup. Rachael’s team, the Tornados, won the league in a final “winner takes all” match, gaining the victory with a bonus point to gain them the title. The last meaningful match for all the “Elite” players was at the end of June at Heythrop Park, Oxford – the Final Trial. As usually happens in final trial matches, it was not a spectacular game, but Rachael’s game, along with her Super league performances, obviously pleased England’s manager, Geoff Richards, when he recently announced his squad.
We wish Rachael, who is England’s youngest World Cup player, a successful campaign when they fly to Canada on the 23rd of August and congratulate her on her achievements to date.
From the RFUW World Cup website: