Maggie Alphonsi and Catherine Spencer hail centurion Rochelle Clark
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 19/05/15 1:55pm
Women's Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi expects Rochelle Clark to beat Jason Leonard's appearance record and become the most capped England player in history.
Clark was named Women’s Player of the Year at the Rugby Players Association dinner on Wednesday, two months after making her 100th England appearance in the Six Nations game with France at Twickenham.
“Rochelle Clark has achieved so much in the world of rugby and it's so pleasing to see her win that award,” Alphonsi told Sky Sports.
“I remember when she won her first cap in 2003 and knowing Rocky she won't stop now. She's got so much still to do in the game and I think she's gunning for Jason Leonard's England cap record.”
Clark is 14 caps shy of Leonard’s record 114 international appearances and ex-England Women’s skipper Catherine Spencer thinks her former team-mate could even feature at the Women’s World Cup in 2017.
“I have known Rochelle, or ‘Rock star’ as I call her, since our academy days in 2001/ 2002 and she's been one of the stalwarts of the game,” Spencer said.
“She’s someone I always looked up to when I was in the squad and when I became England captain she was someone I always went to.
“I’m sure she'll carry on till she can't physically move any more. She just loves and cares for the game so much. I can't see her stopping any time soon, certainly not before the 2017 World Cup I would have thought.”
I’m sure she'll carry on till she can't physically move any more. She just loves and cares for the game so much. I can't see her stopping any time soon, certainly not before the 2017 World Cup I would have thought.
Alphonsi and Spencer were speaking at the 2015 Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger awards in central London on Thursday night. They were part of a star-studded guest list including Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold, former England cricketer Rachel Heyhoe-Flint and current Test and One Day captain Charlotte Edwards.
Eight awards were presented on the night and winners included Olympic and Commonwealth boxing champion Nicola Adams, who was recognised as a sporting role model, and Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson who was recognised as an ambassador for women’s sport.
Wasps president and former England full-back Sue Day is a patron of the Women’s Sport Trust and insists the organisation is proactive when it comes to increasing the profile of women’s sport.
“I just found the event so inspiring,” Day said. “I grew up reading about Rachel Heyhoe-Flint in the papers because there really weren’t very many sportswomen to read about and it was nice to meet her tonight. For me, it was just so emotional and moving to see her on stage with the next generation of athletes.
“I don’t know how the Women’s Sport Trust compares to other organisations, but I know what the Women’s Sport Trust stands for and it stands for people making a difference. It stands for people using the influence they have to make things happen for women in sport.“Jo Bostock and Tammy Parlour who founded this organisation are inspiring. They are all about ‘let’s not sit around talking about it, let’s go out there and do it’.”