Emily Rudge: England’s record captain aims for more growth for women’s rugby league | Rugby League News


England Women’s captain Emily Rudge speaks to Sky Sports as she prepares to lead the side in this weekend’s Test match against France; watch Saturday’s international doubles match at Halliwell Jones Stadium live on Sky Sports Arena from 3pm

Last update: 06/17/22 1:50 p.m.

Emily Rudge is now England’s most capped player.

Versatility is a key asset for any modern rugby league player, although there are perhaps few who have made the transition from scrum-half to second tier.

This is exactly the path that Emily Rudge’s career has taken her, and it has led to her becoming the most capped player in the history of the England women’s team.

On Saturday, Rudge will extend that record to 26 caps when she leads England in their test match against France, live on sky sportsand the St Helens player is no doubt those early half-time experiences have helped her in her role in the peloton.

“When I was younger I was quite fast and a bit more nimble, and I got into that role because I was the most experienced player on my girls team,” Rudge said. sky sports.

“That was the role I fit into, a ball player, probably because I had been playing a bit longer than some of the other girls.

“But as I got into a bit more mature environment I found that running the ball was more my strength. I grew up in that position but I would say I really enjoy playing in the second row more than in the scrum half!

“I’m grateful that I was able to play in different positions when I was younger, and that has gotten me to this point now where I’m happy with the position I’m in.”

Emily Rudge: England's record captain aims for more growth for women's rugby league | Rugby League News Emily Rudge: England's record captain aims for more growth for women's rugby league | Rugby League News

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One of the other biggest changes for Rudge in her career has been the evolution of women’s football, with the landscape now looking very different to when she made her England debut as a 16-year-old in the 2008 World Cup in Australia.

Much of this period has been slow-moving, but recent years have seen rapid growth on these shores following the launch of the Women’s Super League in 2017, with Rudge and her St Helens teammates now the standard bearers. of this competition. .

The England women’s team now also hold regular training camps away from matches and this year’s Rugby World Cup will see them front and center alongside the men’s and wheelchair tournaments, including the final which will be played at Old Trafford.

Rudge is amazed at the progress made over the last 16 years of her career and hopes this year’s World Cup will be a stepping stone to even more growth.

England captain Emily Rudge presents the World Cup before the competition in November

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England captain Emily Rudge presents the World Cup before the competition in November

England captain Emily Rudge presents the World Cup before the competition in November

“Women’s football has grown tremendously and I have been fortunate to grow up in this changing environment,” Rudge said.

“So to look back, to see a completely different side of the women’s game than it is now, I feel really lucky to be a part of that.

“This World Cup is so, so exciting for the girls. Everything so far – the construction, the stadiums we’re going to play in, the coverage it’s going to have.

“The opportunity we have there to really impact women’s rugby league, to achieve some World Cup success, is just going to grow the sport massively. I think that’s ultimately the end goal for all of us.”

England will enter Saturday’s match against France at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington after coming under heavy scrutiny from Wales last Sunday, securing a 32-6 win over the hosts they had already beaten 60-0 this times last year.

This notable improvement over Wales 12 months after their first Test game is, according to Rudge, another sign of progress and she expects old rivals France to give England a tough training also this weekend.

As matches against other European teams become more regular, the England captain wants to see opportunities to face the Southern Hemisphere powers outside of the World Cups, having been part of the two-Test tour to Papua New Guinea. New Guinea in 2019.

“If anything, I hope he grows and gets even better and the support we have now is amazing compared to what it was before,” Rudge said.

Highlights from England's win over Wales last year

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Highlights from England’s win over Wales last year

Highlights from England’s win over Wales last year

“I think it will continue to grow and I hope that after the World Cup we will have more opportunities to play and we will have regular fixtures.

“We had the Papua New Guinea tour, now we are playing Wales and France, and hopefully in the next couple of years we can play Australia and New Zealand outside of a World Cup because it didn’t really happen.

“Playing Australia in maybe a few Tests would be an amazing step up for women, to go on tour and play a few games there.”

Watch the England Women v France followed by the England Men take on the Combined Nations All Stars in the international doubles match at the Halliwell Jones Stadium live on Sky Sports Arena from 3pm on Saturday.




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