Alphonsi backing England to do the double
One player who knows what it’s like to play in a Rugby World Cup in front of a home crowd is England Rugby 2015 ambassador, Maggie Alphonsi.
The open side flanker is currently taking part in her third Women's Rugby World Cup, in France, having been part of the 2006 tournament in Canada before the showcase event came to England in 2010.
Voted player of the tournament four years ago, Alphonsi has only lost two World Cup games in her career, both in finals to New Zealand. With the Black Ferns having dropped out of contention this time, she is now hoping that England can finally go one better and take home the trophy, although they face a tough semi final against Ireland, the team that vanquished the New Zealanders in the pool stages.
As an ambassador for RWC 2015, Alphonsi is also hoping that success in France over the next week can start a positive chain reaction, as it did for New Zealand four years ago, when the Black Ferns’ World Cup success in 2010 was followed by the All Blacks lifting the Webb Ellis Cup on home soil a year later.
“We look at the New Zealand women, they won the last World Cup in 2010, and then the New Zealand men went on to win the World Cup in 2011,” she said.
“That nation is buzzing now, they’ve got two top world class teams, and I want the same thing to happen to England. I want us to win it in 2014, and the men to go on and win it in 2015, and that is definitely possible.”
Four years ago the Women’s Rugby World Cup final was held in front of a packed out Twickenham Stoop and the event helped to raise awareness of the women’s game throughout the country. The Alphonsi is currently seeing the same effect in France and is positive that Rugby World Cup 2015 will capture the imagination of the whole nation.
“It’s great that we’ve got Rugby World Cup 2015 coming to England but what we need to appreciate is it’s not just going to be Twickenham or even London. We’ve got games in Brighton, in Birmingham, Leeds, Cardiff… the fact that it’s going to be everywhere is important and what will make this Tournament truly unique.”
- South Africa
- New Zealand