BACK TO SCHOOL FOR RUGBY STAR

World Cup win­ner look­ing for­ward to re­turn to her teach­ing job

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Goolis­tan Cooper ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk

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!”

Photo by Ac­tion Images

n SUP­PORT: Emma Cro­ker

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