Rugby Union

RAF's Amy Cokayne Hoping More People Will Watch Women's Six Nations

The 2021 tournament kicks off this weekend and Amy Cokayne is hoping more people will tune in.

RAF and England rugby union player Flying Officer Amy Cokayne is hoping more people will tune in to watch the upcoming 2021 Women's Six Nations.

This year's tournament is being broadcast on a national on-demand service and the Air Force star wants more people to watch the women's game.

Cokayne and England kick off their tournament on Saturday against Scotland.

She said: "Now that’s it on BBC iPlayer and stuff, hopefully, we should get some good viewing figures.

"With it being just after the men's tournament, the Six Nations is on people's minds at the minute.

"Having our own tournament, you are going to get the hardcore women's rugby fans but because there's no competition with the men's rugby, people will just want to watch rugby hopefully.

"You might get some crossover with people that have never watched the game before."

The 2021 competition format is different, moving away from the regular round-robin tournament. 

The teams will instead be split into two pools of three, with a final round of games on 24 April pitting teams against their equivalent in the other pool to decide the final positions. 

Cokayne said: "I don't know if we can call it a Grand Slam – even if they say it can be called a Grand Slam! I don't think it can be.

"I think, as a player, you definitely need to beat everyone to say that. It's something new, isn’t it?

"We've all become really good at adapting throughout these COVID times so it's just something else to adapt to I suppose," she added.

Amy Cokayne will be looking to win another international cap against Scotland this weekend (Picture: RFU)

Cokayne is an example of the military's links to professional sports and she thinks it is a major part of forces recruitment.

She said: "I wouldn't sell people the dream if it wasn't the reality at the end of the day.

"I'm very fortunate in the position that I am in now to be able to play rugby full time and still have that Air Force career to go back to or have outside of rugby.

"I think I've kind of just knocked on the door of it and a few girls have gone 'you seem to be doing all right for yourself, I want a bit of that'.

"Hopefully, we can encourage more girls to kind of marry up their rugby and military lives."

If both England and Wales go through, we could see a military battle in the final part of the tournament as Army duo Captain Gemma Rowland and Bombardier Bethan Dainton are in the Welsh squad.

With no Inter Services Championship for two consecutive years, Cokayne joked about putting the title on the line.

She said: "We can call it a dummy RAF-Army one and see who wins it. We'll put the Inter Services on the line!

"It's always good coming up against them and the rivalry is always as strong as ever.

"The more people we can get playing international rugby while having a connection with the military is only a positive thing."