|The Year 2003 has gone down in History as being the most memorable year for England Rugby with Martin Johnston leading England to Rugby World Cup glory, but this season rugby hopes to be celebrating again with England’s Women serious contenders for victory in the Women’s World Cup in Edmonton, Canada.|
England Squad/photo Rugbymatters.net
|The World Cup gets underway in August, but preparations to win the sport’s ultimate prize are well underway and rugby matters on the pitch will certainly get serious in October when England travel to New Zealand for an action packed three weeks where they take on Samoa, New Zealand A and reigning World Champions the Black Ferns. |
|"Yapp has followed in her brother’s footsteps by taking up the oval ball game at the age of 13. Tony Yapp is a professional rugby player having played top-flight rugby with Bedford before moving to Division One side Exeter Chiefs where he now plays at fly-half."|
Yapp said: "It is a massive honour for me to be leading England into such an important year for us. Personally it is a great achievement but also when I look around at the squad, of which there are so many natural leaders, I know that I have an amazing squad around me who will deliver the best they can."
England's Captain and Worchester N0 9
Jo Yapp/photo Rugbymatters.net
Jo Yapp/photo Rugbymatters.net
|Yapp has played in England’s last two world cups, including England’s disappointing 19-9 defeat to the Black Ferns in the 2002 Barcelona World Cup final. However, she has also tasted success against the mighty New Zealanders winning three games out of a four test tour against them and Australia in 2001. |
Understandably she is filled with feelings of both trepidation and excitement as England head towards two tough tests against the Black Ferns and then a World Cup.
|"It will be tough, but we have definitely got more strength in depth than we have ever had before. In the past if there were a few injuries, we were concerned. Now we know we have the backup and quality backup. |
"It’s hard to say exactly how well we will do on this tour. The last time we played against New Zealand at the Churchill Cup in 2004 we fell to a heavy defeat but I think whatever the results we are going to learn a lot about our opposition and about ourselves which can only help us before a world cup."
England Women’s head coach Geoff Richards announced his squad of 28 to travel to New Zealand in October as England prepare for the 2006 Rugby World Cup in Canada...more
Jo with teammate Michaela Staniforth/photo rugbymatters.net
Yapp will be backed up by a whole host of current and future stars. Coach Richards has named an impressive 28-woman line-up for the tour including the established stars of Georgia Stevens, Selena Rudge and Jenny Sutton.
Richards added: “With this squad we are in a much stronger position than we were four years ago for the 2002 World Cup. We have greater strength in depth in all positions. I am very excited about the squad and we are looking forward to kicking off our World Cup preparations which starts with our tour to New Zealand next month.”