World Cup winners to parade trophy at Exeter match

Five of the England Women’s 2014 Rugby World Cup winners will parade the World Cup trophy at Sixways this Friday night at the Craig Gillies Testimonial Match between Warriors and Exeter Chiefs (kick-off 7.30pm).

Rochelle Clark, Laura Keates, Ceri Large, Kat Merchant and Lydia Thompson, who all play their club rugby for Worcester Ladies RFC, will be enjoying hospitality during the game and will be on the pitch at half-time to show off the trophy while being interviewed about their World Cup success.

That means there will be even more for supporters to enjoy as Warriors play their final pre-season game.

Keates said: “I’m looking forward to Friday night and stepping out on the Sixways pitch with the trophy.

“Winning the World Cup is something I’ve dreamt of doing my whole life and I couldn’t be happier right now.

“It has been crazy since getting back to England. We haven’t had much sleep but it’s an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t swap it for anything else.”

England Ladies had lost the previous three World Cup finals to New Zealand before defeating Canada at this year's showpiece.

And despite not having to play New Zealand at this year's event, Keates admitted the Ladies were disappointed they didn’t get a crack at getting one over their old foe.

She explained: “It’s always been England v New Zealand in the final and a lot of the girls were disappointed that they were knocked out as you want to play the team you’ve lost to before.

“But we knew Canada were amazing athletes and a difficult team to play. However, we knew if we got it right on the day we could turn them over and we did.”

The Worcester tighthead was handing out medals to juniors at the recent Warriors Residential Camps and admits she would like to see rugby union, and especially the women’s game, grow rapidly.

She added: “It’s important for all these youngsters to be attending camps as the game is growing bigger and bigger.

“I’d like to see rugby have the same status as football and being played all over the world, and also with the girls’ game too.

“Our job is to try and get out there and make people aware that girls do play rugby and that it’s a fantastic sport for all shapes and sizes.

“Even if people don’t want to do contact, there is tag rugby and all sorts of things to get involved with, so my advice would be to get in contact with your local club and give it a go.”