2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup: Amy Turner named England intern


Amy Turner
Amy Turner (right) played for Harlequins and England as a scrum-half before moving into coaching

Former England scrum-half Amy Turner has been named England’s coaching intern for the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The 36-year-old has been coaching with England Under-20s but will also now start working with the senior squad.

Turner told BBC Sport: “To beat the world’s best in their own backyard is a hard task but something that the girls should really thrive on.

“I want to help to get them into that psyche and understand our strengths.”

The news comes on the day marking ‘One Year to Go’ before the start of the event, which runs from 18 September through to the final on 16 October.

World Rugby is funding one woman coaching intern per nation to prepare squads for the 2021 World Cup.

The initiative hopes to help World Rugby build towards its own target of 40% of all coaching staff at the 2025 Women’s World Cup being female.

Wales have also qualified for the World Cup but will wait for the appointment of a new permanent head coach for their women’s programme before naming their intern.

RFU head of women’s performance Nicky Ponsford said: “We were seeking a young aspiring coach in the early stage of their career and Amy was the outstanding candidate.

“Amy is a dedicated, talented young coach with an infectious personality, enthusiasm and willingness to develop.”

Turner, who won 59 caps and went to two World Cups with England in 2006 and 2010, is a qualified Level Three coach but says she wasn’t expecting to be selected for the role.

“I was taken aback a little bit, I felt very appreciative of the opportunity because I know the quality that is out there in the domestic game at the moment,” she added.

England has one of the best track records for producing female coaches in the world, with 11 women qualified as RFU Level 4 coaches – the highest coaching badge available – and 35 qualified at Level 3.

Of the 46 women coaching at Level 3 and above, 18 are current or former Red Rose players.

Former Metropolitan Police officer Turner will coach some senior players she stepped onto the pitch with including the likes of England captain Sarah Hunter and 2019 World Player of the Year Emily Scarratt.

“They were all really pleased for me and all texted me and said ‘congratulations that’s really good news’ and ‘really glad that you’re on board’.

“Although they’re mates I think they respect me as a coach which is quite a nice balance, so it won’t be too weird.”

England women’s head coach Simon Middleton has already said Turner will be involved in the side’s final Six Nations match with Italy in October followed by two fixtures with France.

“I’ll be totally immersed as a coach, a member of the coaching team, and ‘Mids’ (Middleton) has been an absolute star with making really clear I’ll be involved in the running of, or planning of, sessions throughout the year.”

Turner credits the likes of Worcester director of rugby Jo Yapp and Wasps director of rugby Giselle Mather for helping inspire her coaching career, but hinted at future ambitions beyond the women’s game.

“I’m really excited to see where my career goes, I just don’t want to be ‘I’m a female I have to be within the female game’. I just want to be a quality coach that has a quality CV and is someone considered across everything.”

BBC News