RUGBY: TWO Thurrock players will play for England when the national team’s Ladies take on Scotland in the RBS Womens Six Nations on Sunday. T-Birds’ Rachael Burford and Mercedes Foy will be in white shirts for the second match of England’s 2014 campaign.
England is making big changes to the team which lost 18-6 to France in the opening game at Grenoble last weekend.
And Kent-based Burford – who was on the pitch for 80 minutes against France and was one of the best England players – will now be joined by her T-Bird pal.
Foy is the William Edwards School PE teacher who has led the club’s T-Birds to the league title. After the disappointment of England’s loss, head coach Gary Street promised some changes – and now he’s made them.
Thurrock’s director of rugby, Dean White, said he believed that Street knew what the two Thurrock players would bring to England.
White said: “You could see last weekend from the clubhouse that Rachael was our best player. “She was everywhere on the pitch and that’s what she’s about. She’s one of the best centres in the world. I know she was disappointed that England did not win, but that’s typical of her to look for things she could have done better rather than celebrate being the best individual player there.”
White believes that hooker Foy will strengthen England just where they need it – in the front row. He said; “When she came to the T-Birds she was a tight head prop but we converted her to a hooker and she can really play in any of those forward roles. “England looked far too lateral at the weekend and with Mercedes you get somebody who is a big ball carrier.” Hundreds watched last weekend’s match at Thurrock’s Oakfield clubhouse. White said: “We only heard on Tuesday morning that they were making wholesale changes to the England squad and that meant that Mercedes had been called up too. “She brings so much to any team.
“She’s an inspirational personality both on and off the pitch and England will be stronger for her. “She leads from the front and when she leads people want to follow her. She’s a natural leader.”
“That was lacking a bit at the weekend, but here at Thurrock we know that she does it for us and that she’ll do if for England. There’s no stopping Mercedes. She’s a game-changing type of player,” added White. But the national honours do not stop there for the T-Birds. Thurrock’s zippy fly half Emily Scott has been chosen to represent England 7s in both the USA and Brazil in a few weeks time. l ENGLAND v Scotland: Sunday, February 9 (Aberdeen). Kick off 2pm with the match broadcast live on: www.youtube.com/officialrfutv