Emily Rudge: An open letter to rugby league fans to get behind the England women's team at Headingley

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

The women’s Rugby League World Cup tournament kicks off on Tuesday, a unique opportunity to grow the sport in this country and beyond.

England open the tournament against Brazil at Headingley on Tuesday (2.30) in a double-header at the famous Leeds venue that is followed by Papua New Guinea versus Canada (5.00).

One of England’s players is Emily Rudge, who plays her club rugby for St Helens, and has written an open letter here to fans of not only rugby league, but sport in general.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rudge first played for England in 2008 as a 16-year-old and captained the side for the first time at the end of 2018.

England Women’s captain Emily Rudge at Headingley (Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)England Women’s captain Emily Rudge at Headingley (Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)
England Women’s captain Emily Rudge at Headingley (Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)

To date she has made 24 appearances for her country.

The women’s tournament will be contested by eight teams, with the Headingley fixtures on Tuesday comprising all four teams in Pool A. Pool B is made up of New Zealand, Australia, France and the Cook Islands.

Fixtures also take place in York and Hull with the final to be played on the same day as the men’s at Old Trafford on Saturday November 19.

Rudge writes:

England's Emily Rudge, Tara Stanley, Georgia Wilson (Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com)England's Emily Rudge, Tara Stanley, Georgia Wilson (Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com)
England's Emily Rudge, Tara Stanley, Georgia Wilson (Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com)

To all the women and girls who love rugby league and sport – in Yorkshire, the North and the whole of England.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tuesday November 1 is a day that’s been marked on my calendar as a special one for a very long time.

It’s the first game of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup. The biggest day ever for Women’s Rugby League in this country, as our England team play Brazil at Headingley.

We’re already guaranteed to be playing in front of the biggest crowd and best atmosphere that any of us have experienced – and also the biggest TV audience, with live coverage on BBC2.

But it’s not too late if you’d like to join us in making history.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s an unusual kick-off time, 2.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon. As a PE teacher, I’d normally be working at my school in St Helens.

But it’s been fantastic to hear of so many school groups who are coming to Headingley, to be part of a truly unique occasion.

One of the best things about the way Women’s Rugby League has grown over recent years has been hearing girls who say they’ve been inspired to start playing the game themselves.

I know that in the crowd at Headingley or Tuesday, or watching on TV, there are going to be girls who go on to wear the England shirt – such a proud achievement for all of us in the squad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Because we still have to combine training and playing with our jobs, it’s been years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice for all of us – and our families and friends.

We’ll be so proud to have so many of them supporting us at Headingley.

We’d love it if you could be there too – whether pupil or teacher, primary school or secondary school, student or employee, even Rugby League or Rugby Union!

We’ve already been inspired this year by the success of the Lionesses at Wembley. Now we get our chance across the North, with our other group games at Wigan and Headingley again before we hopefully share in a semi-final double-header in York – and the Final at Old Trafford on November 19.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

All the games are going to be special, starting against Brazil at Headingley - the biggest crowd ever for a Women’s Rugby League match in the northern hemisphere – and hopefully more than 10,000 in the ground, really packing it out.

Tuesday November 1. Bring it on!