England Women's Rugby World Cup Winners Say Move To Professionalism Necessary
England's World Cup-winning women "feel a move to professionalism is necessary to stay competitive on the world stage," according to the BBC. However, team captain Katy Mclean said any move must be "viable" and "sustainable" in the long-term. Vice-captain Sarah Hunter added, "If other nations turn professional and move forward we might get left behind." The Rugby Football Union "is yet to comment on plans to make the women's game full-time or award central contracts to its national players." Hunter, 28, believes that "the demands in the game now make holding down a full-time job a difficult situation to balance." Hunter: "For now, it's all about making sure the players have the support in place to make their lives easier and add value. But we need to make sure the debate doesn't take away from the achievement of actually winning a World Cup." Women's Sevens "will make its Olympic debut in Rio in 2016." Mclean: "There's a huge marketing profile now for the game's authorities to work with. I'm sure the Rugby Football Union are already busy talking about it" (BBC, 8/19). In London, Sam Peters wrote England's World Cup-winning women's head coach Gary Street called for "increased funding to allow his team of plumbers, teachers and policewomen to turn professional." Street said sponsors would be "crazy" not to support a sport which has seen playing numbers more than double to 18,000 over the last 10 years (DAILY MAIL, 8/18).