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England World Champions 1994: Where are they now?

England World Champions 1994: Where are they now?

video caption, 30 years later – England players reflect on their 1994 World Cup win

  • author, Sarah Bustan
  • roles, BBC sports columnist

1994 Rugby World Cup Final

place: Edinburgh Academics

England is trying: Gil Burns, Jackie Edwards, Gene Mitchell, penalty attempt (2)

The United States of America is trying: Jane Crawford (2), Patty Garvey, Elise Hoover

to rule: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

1: Jane Mangham 2: Nicky Ponsford 3: Sandy Ewing 4: Sarah Wynn 5: Heather Stirrup 6: Janice Ross (Vice-Captain) 7: Genevieve Shore 8: Jill Burns 9: Emma Mitchell 10: Karen Almond (Captain) 11: Annie Cole 12: Giselle Prangell 13: Jackie Edwards 14: Val Blackett 15: Jane Mitchell.

Paula George came off the bench at the end of the match to replace Jackie Edwards and Jenny Chambers to replace Sarah Wynn. Other than that, everyone stayed in for the full match.

1: Annie Flavin 2: Julie Gray 3: Mary Ann Sorensen 4: Sherri Hunt 5: Tara Flanagan 6: Jean Rutkowski 7: Laurie Spicer Burdon 8: Barbara Bond 9: Patty Connell 10: Gus Bergman 11: Patti Gervay 12: Elise Hoover 13: Candy Orsini 14: Christa McFarren 15: Jane Crawford.

Starting on the fifteenth

1: Jane Mangham (now Coates), 31st Red Rose

Mangham now calls Edinburgh home and has been involved in coaching rugby and football in Scotland. Jane is a qualified teacher but is now enjoying life as a teaching assistant.

2: Nikki Ponsford, Red Rose 10

Ponsford has moved into the world of rugby management to become the RFU's Head of Women's Performance and has now launched the Women's Premiership Rugby (PWR). Since 2021, she has worked at World Rugby as Head of High Performance.

3: Sandy Ewing, Red Rose 33

Ewing went to America to play for UCLA and the Grizzlies representing California, while also mentoring up-and-coming front-rowers. She returned to New Zealand in 1996 to play for the College Rifles and Auckland, before hanging up her boots in 1999.

4: Sarah Wayne, Red Rose 30

Wynn retired from rugby after the World Cup to focus on her career in complex construction environments, including projects such as the Second Severn Crossing and Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. She now works in consulting.

5: Heather Stirrup, Red Rose 29

Stirrup went on to manage the England squad. She then moved to Vancouver to teach mathematics and coach rugby at Simon Fraser University and BC Women's. She remained in Canada and recently retired from teaching.

6: Janice Ross (vice captain), Red Rose 20

Ross returned to her job as a town planner but continued to play club rugby until 2000. In 2005, she was diagnosed with hereditary cardiomyopathy and had an implantable defibrillator inserted, meaning her sport was now “a kind of social tennis”. Ross worked for the NHS, retiring in 2022 to become an artist.

7: Genevieve Shore, Red Rose 41

Shore has served on the RFU Board since 2017. In 2022, she was announced as Chair of Women's Premier 15 Limited, now known as Premiership Women's Rugby (PWR).

8: Jill Burns, Red Rose 23

Burns later captained the England national team, and after hanging up her boots she was appointed as the first female president of the English rugby club, Waterloo. She became President of the Women's Rugby Football Union for 10 years. Gill continues to store the most comprehensive archive of women's rugby memorabilia which would otherwise have been lost to future generations.

9: Emma Mitchell, Red Rose 19

Mitchell enjoyed a career in academic publishing but after retiring from playing rugby she coached in the USA, Canada and the UK. In 2007, Emma joined the English Institute of Sport as a Performance Lifestyle Coach. Emma and fullback Jane Mitchell are identical twin sisters.

10: Karen Almond (Captain), Red Rose 1

After the 1994 World Cup, Almond went on a Muslim tour to New Zealand and gave up her teaching job to stay there and travel. She eventually made New Zealand her home and obtained permanent residency.

11: Annie Cole, Red Rose 39

Cole continued to play rugby at Henley until 2007 and then returned to playing hockey. She retrained as a primary school teacher in 2006 and is now deputy headteacher in Maidenhead.

12: Gisèle Prangel (now Mather), Red Rose 35

Mather moved into coaching and became the first woman in England to receive a Level 4 Coaching Award. She coached the London Irish Men's Academy before heading up the Wasps Women and now captains the Ealing Trailfinders Women at PWR.

13: Jackie Edwards, Red Rose 37

Edwards went on to work in a variety of roles at the University of Kent. She is also a singer who performs as Ginger Bennett with her band Funk and Soul Project K and the KD Dance Orchestra.

14: Val Blackett, Red Rose 38

Blackett played at Clifton and then Cheltenham before returning to Bristol, where she finished at the age of 47. In 2024, she still hopes to finish the season playing a few games from seven.

15: Jane Mitchell, Red Rose 25

Mitchell has settled in California and has been playing for the Berkeley All Blues alongside some of the USA team players since the 1994 final. Jane has represented the West Coast Grizzly and the USA in sevens. Jane is the identical twin sister of scrum-half Emma.


Paula George, Red Rose 49

George took over the captaincy of the team, and after his retirement moved to New Zealand, where he worked behind the scenes with the All Blacks as a content creator. She now has her own company that tells stories through photography, video, and the written word.

Jenny Chambers, Red Rose 40

Chambers served in the Army before moving into entertainment center management. She is also a horticulturist and lectures at Abingdon and Witney College.

Steve Dowling, head coach

Steve was a Saracens and Hertfordshire player and has worked in education and teacher training. In 2008 he became a lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire before retiring in 2020. The coaching group included the 'Three Steves', with Steve Geo and Steve Peters working alongside Carol Isherwood as Dowling's assistants.

See also  UK start time, team news and talkSPORT coverage as the visitors look to end the series on a high