Street: Attitudes are changing to women's rugby
August 19, 2014
England's Sarah Hunter, Katy Mclean and Gary Street field questions © Getty Images
England coach Gary Street believes attitudes are changing to the women's game in the wake of their World Cup win.
England beat Canada 21-9 on Sunday as they won their first World Cup since 1994. The triumph saw the England women's team dominate press coverage with three broadsheets featuring them on the front page and Street believes the rugby world is finally taking the women's game seriously, with a growing list of influential and celebrity supporters.
"We had a lovely text from Prince Harry congratulating us and we had a nice message from the Prime Minister too," said Street. "Things like that were really quite special. We had a nice text from Jonny Wilkinson before the final as well, saying 'go and win it'. So that shows how things have changed. I think times really have changed."
Street has been coaching in the women's game for 20 years, and admitted it is only now that even high-ranking rugby administrators are catching on to the appeal.
"I was talking to someone from the IRB during the tournament," he said. "When I first met him, 10 years ago, he thought it was a nonsense and that it shouldn't be played. But he called me over after the final and was shocked.
"He had no comprehension that women's rugby looked like that. He told me he watched Top 14 rugby every week and it's terrible to watch. He'd gone from somebody who thought women shouldn't play rugby at all to somebody who'd rather watch women's rugby to men's. That shows how far we'd come.
"Young girls want to be Maggie Alphonsi and Emily Scarratt. You don't have to be a women's rugby fan anymore to know some of the best players in the world, regardless of gender."
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