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Thurrock rugby pair's international joy
1:18pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport
TWO Thurrock women were part of the England women’s rugby team which came close to winning rugby’s international Nations Cup in Denver, USA last week.
Thurrock T-Birds’ Mercedes Foy and fellow borough ace Emily Scott were part of the team which lost out in the final to the much fancied Canada team.
England lost 27-13 at the Glendale Stadium.
But the major tournament was an unforgettable one for Foy, 27, a stalwart of Thurrock RFC and a teacher at William Edwards School in Grays.
She said: “Playing for England’s women in the Nations Cup final was something I’ll never, ever forget.
“Although we’d love to have won the tournament, both Emily and I are hopeful that we’ve done enough to interest the selectors because next year is a World Cup year.”
Foy’s rise to fame as part of the England set-up has been meteoric.
She said: “It’s been mad for me because I only went along to regional squad training five months ago and now I’ve played hooker for England and reached a final.
“It was incredible and the training was brilliant, too.”
Emily Scott – who first cut her teeth with Stanford RFC – has been part of the England set-up before, playing for the nation’s Under 20 side.
At senior level she joined Thurrock’s T-Birds and helped the team gain promotion to the Premiership – womens’ rugby’s top flight two years ago.
During last season’s Six Nations she received her first England cap and topped off a great campaign with a debut try.
The sports science graduate managed to touch down again last week when she scored a try against the USA.
Foy said: “Emily’s try was typical of her style. She broke from the 22 and spotted a gap and just went for it and got through.
“She’s so fast and difficult to stop when she’s got the ball,” she added.
Foy’s background in the sport and committment to Thurrock RFC and the successful T-Birds Ladies team has been key in her own rapid rise. The former English Schools shot putter took up rugby at college and proved a natural born leader with Thurrock at Oakfield where she was quickly voted captain. She helped Thurrock to five promotions before T-Birds made the Premiership for one season.
She was also instrumental in setting up Thurrock’s T-Chicks, the Thurrock RFC Ladies junior section which is already producing talented players. Even when training with rugby’s regional squad, her leadership potential was spotted and she was made captain there too.
She was selected for the London & South East divisional team and then went on to impress the nation’s head coach Gary Street, who picked her for the Nations Cup in the USA.
On the way to the final England defeated South Africa 18-17.
Foy said: “This tour has been massive for me personally.
“Many of England’s first team have been out at the Sevens event in New Zealand so this Nations Cup was for the rest of the players in the seconds and thirds and people like me who had never been capped before.
“But it’s given Emily and I the chance to show what we can do – and that could be important in the year before a World Cup.
“We’ve got so much support from people in Thurrock, my club and the school. It’s been brilliant,” she added.
On Friday borough rugby fans have the chance to see the T-Birds in action on home turf when they play Scaracens Ladies at Oakfield on August 23.
The match starts at 7.30pm.