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New Zealand’s Anna Richards: “I don’t want to put a limit, you’ve got to dream” (New Zealand)

New Zealand’s four-time Women’s Rugby World Cup winner and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Anna Richards believes you are never to young to stop learning and evolving and that there is no ceiling to the potential of women in rugby.

World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Anna Richards has witnessed first hand the strides made by women in the sport over the past three decades.

Richards was required to pay her own travel expenses in order to represent New Zealand at the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup in Wales in 1991. The union did not send a team to the next tournament in Scotland three years later.

By the time she walked away from the test arena in 2010 aged 45 and with a fourth Women’s Rugby World Cup winner’s medal dangling from her neck, however, the event had become a global showpiece.

Since that September afternoon at a sold-out Twickenham Stoop, Richards has continued to give back to the sport that provided so much, spending four years as Hong Kong women’s sevens coach before returning home to New Zealand in December 2017. In March she took up a newly created role as women’s player development manager at Auckland Rugby.

“It’s been awesome,” she said of the job. “Great guys there, really enjoying the atmosphere and the Auckland Rugby Union is very, very supportive of women’s rugby which is great.”

Not that Richards gave herself much time to settle into life at Eden Park. In April she coached the Women’s Barbarians to their first test victory, a nail-biting 34-33 defeat of the USA in Colorado, and last week she was back in London to prepare the invitational side for their clash with England at Twickenham.

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