Gary Street

It had been 20 years since England’s women had been crowned world Rugby Union champions but that long wait finally ended this summer – thanks to a team nurtured by a man who can now claim to be one of international rugby’s most successful coaches.

All of which represents a remarkable turnaround for a coach who could, after a disastrous run of results in 2013, have easily lost his job. That he moved on from relinquishing the Six Nations title for the first time in seven years and a three Test series white-wash by New Zealand, speaks volumes for a man who has been instrumental in raising the profile of women’s rugby union.

The 46-year-old has been the head coach of the women’s team since 2007, taking over from Geoff Richards after working alongside him the previous season. And despite all his previous success, 2014 is a year that will live in the memory like no other after his side beat Canada in Paris to be crowned world champions.

Speaking of their disappointment on missing out on the crown four years before, Street said: “They wanted to get back to another final to see if they could win it next time. It’s not a fear factor, it’s what has driven us to get where we are. It has been four years of hard work to get here.”

Street also had to cope with his father suffering a heart attack on the eve of the tournament, an illness which made him doubly determined to bring home the World Cup.

The final itself was played in front of a sell-out crowd of 20,000 and was beamed to 137 countries worldwide – figures that demonstrate just how fast the sport is increasing its appeal.

And thanks to Street and his all-conquering side that popularity looks set to grow and grow.

 

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