BACK TO SCHOOL FOR RUGBY STAR
World Cup winner looking forward to return to her teaching job
RUGBY star Emma Croker says she owes a big thank you to Swakeleys School after England won the women’s World Cup.
The hooker, who was part of the team which beat Canada on Sunday last week, is head of PE at the Hillingdon school.
She told the Gazette that she is now looking forward to being back at school repaying its support.
Mrs Croker said: “Being a World Cup winner hasn’t really sunk in yet, it’s a bit overwhelming. But when I go back to school next month it will be an end of the celebrations and a return back to normality.”
All members of the England squad work full-time and need understanding employers. She said: “I love my job. The people there are great and my department is fantastic and everyone at the school has been very supportive. It will be great to get back to work and repay that support.”
The weekend’s victory was all the more memorable as England had lost their three previous finals to New Zealand. Mrs Croker played in the 2010 loss and said: “Those defeats make this all the sweeter. A lot of this squad were there in 2010 and we were determined to put that disappointment behind us and go one step further.”
The 31-year-old plays club rugby for Richmond and won her first England cap in 2007, winning her 50th earlier this year.
She is also used to doing things the hard way. When seven months pregnant with daughter Lucy, now two, she was diagnosed with preclampsia and underwent an mergency caesarian at Hillingdon Hospital. Within our months she was playing or her club and after five months represented her ountry in the European hampionships.
Watching throughout the ournament in France was Mrs Croker’s family, including Lucy, who joined her in the celebrations on the pitch after the final whistle.
She said: “I’m the only mum in the squad and it made it even more special for my little one to watch me.
“It was a bit overwhelming for her, but she was happy to have her picture taken with the trophy and medal.”
Since returning home, Mrs Croker and her team-mates have been at the eye of a publicity storm. They were honoured at a special function at England Rubgy Union HQ in Twickenham and appeared on The One Show alongside Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on Monday last week.
But Mrs Croker says being a World Cup winner will not change her and she does not think it will change how pupils at the Clifton Gardens school view her either.
She said: “The kids are really supportive and love the fact I play for England, but I’m not sure they will change their opinion of me now. I am still the teacher that shouts at them when they’re naughty!”
n SUPPORT: Emma Croker