England Women’s star ready for World Cup
By Kirsty Saynor
England Women’s squad member player Jodie Cunningham was just 17 when she first pulled on an England shirt but the Warrington-based player is relishing the prospect of representing her country in a World Cup for the first time next month.
Cunningham was unlucky to miss out on selection for the 2008 World Cup but she is looking forward to competing against the best players in the world on home soil and comes into the squad for the 2013 Women’s World Cup in high spirits after being part of Thatto Heath’s victorious Women’s Challenge Cup squad.
“I am really proud to be representing England again and to be playing in a World Cup is fantastic,” said Cunningham. “Everything I’ve done has been working towards this.
“Every game I have played and all the training has been so I could play in this World Cup and hopefully I’ll get a shirt and be able to stand on that pitch and sing the national anthem with pride.
“Winning the Challenge Cup last week has been a great boost and given me so much confidence. You don’t want to be going into these big games on the back of a loss or feeling negative.
“There are also 8 or 9 other girls from the Thatto Heath team in the England squad who are all on top form and that is exactly how we want to go into this World Cup.”
With England facing Australia and New Zealand in their first two fixtures Cunningham knows that winning the World Cup will be no mean feat but she is excited at the prospect of being involved in these tough encounters.
“We know that Australia and New Zealand will be tough sides,” she said. “But I don’t think we can give them too much respect. I personally have played against New Zealand before but I think we need to give ourselves more credit.
“We have a really good squad and we have improved so much recently. I’m excited to play them and show them what we can do.
“I think they underestimate us and they shouldn’t, I believe we have what it takes to turn them over.
“We want to win and to do that we need to play to our potential. Sometimes I think we work and train so hard and it means so much to us that we panic when we are playing.”
“If we can just play to our potential, we can definitely win this World Cup. If we play like I know we are capable of, then the win will follow.”
Cunningham also hopes that the profile of the tournament will help increase the participation in Women’s Rugby League across the country.
“It is the most I have ever heard people talking about the Women’s game, it’s on the radio and I have even had people come up to me and ask me about it which is great,” she said.
“I’d like to hope it will encourage a lot more girls to take part in the sport. There are some really talented young girls out there and they just need to stick at it and they will hopefully have the honour of representing their country like me one day.”
Tickets for the Festivals of World Cup Finals Day at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Sunday July 14, when the Women’s, Students and Police World Cup Finals will be staged, cost from just £6 adult and £2 concessions and can be purchased by calling 0844 856 1113 or visiting https://www.eticketing.co.uk/rle/default.aspx