Rugby Union player and RPA Player of the Year
Rachael Burford has been one of England’s leading international rugby stars for over a decade, named RPA Player of the Year in the season in which England won the World Cup, with Rachael a key figure.
Encouraged by a rugby-mad father, Rachael began playing club rugby at an early age, at one stage representing Medway RFC alongside her sister and mother in the same team. In 2006 she made her full international debut during the World Cup in Canada, soon establishing herself as the first-choice inside-centre for the national side. She has since helped her country to six Grand Slams in the Six Nations Championship.
Her proudest moment, of course, was helping England to win the World Cup for the first time, appearing in every match en route to victory over Canada in the 2014 final. Later that year she was recognised as England’s Player of the Year. Rachael now holds the distinction of having represented her country at four consecutive World Cups.
In 2017 she was awarded the International Rugby Players’ Association Merit Award alongside All Black legend Richie McCaw at the World Rugby Awards.
Also a leading player in the 7s game, Rachael has represented England at two World Cups and in 2007-08 she was named Europe's Most Valuable Player while the team was named BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year.
Away from the field Rachael has been a trailblazer for women’s rugby as well. She has held a number of key administrative posts at World Rugby, joining the Women's Advisory Board, Rugby Committee and Laws Review Group and becoming the first woman on the RPA board in 2014. Rachael is also on the Athletes Commission and Global Player Council.
Rachael is currently club captain of Harlequins and runs the Girls Rugby Club, working with girls of all ages to develop confidence both on and off the pitch through rugby.
Rachael is a regular commentator on the game, writing a column for the Sunday Times on the Women's Six Nations and co-hosting the Women's Rugby Pod.