Rugby Union

Rugby World Cup: The RAF trio that could be key for England, Scotland and Wales

Three RAF rugby stars are looking to fly the Air Force flag at the women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand which kicks off on Saturday.

Flight Lieutenant Amy Cokayne, Flying Officer Sarah Bonar, and Flying Officer Carys Williams-Morris are friends as well as colleagues in the RAF, but they will be playing for three different nations.

Flt Lt Cokayne's England kick off their campaign in the early hours of Saturday morning against Fiji while Fg Off  Bonar's Scotland team face Fg Off Williams-Morris' Wales on Sunday morning.

The RAF players all hold elite status in their service which enables them to impress in their professional sporting careers.

Fg Off Williams-Morris played five internationals for England with her last cap in 2019 but has switched to pull on the Welsh kit.

The Loughborough Lightning centre will be playing Scotland in the first pool – who Wales beat in the Six Nations earlier this year.

She said: "The prep has been really good, I think probably Wales and Scotland are quite similarly matched teams. At the Six Nations, the result was quite close – Wales came away with the win.

"The last few months has been the first taste of professionalism, and full-time training and having all of that support and obviously speaking from a Wales point of view, it has been amazing all of the support we have had.

"The girls feel really good and positive about it, and we just want to go and do a job out in New Zealand."

Harlequins lock Fg Off Bonar is expecting a close match.

She said: "I think that game for both nations is a must-win so it is going to be a fine battle and I am excited to step up to the opportunity.

"We came away with that narrow loss in the Six Nations so we really want to rectify some wrongs, but from a preparation perspective, a lot like Wales, we have had a few months together to train which is hopefully going to put us in a good place come the tournament."

Her Harlequins teammate, Flt Lt Cokayne, will be making her second World Cup appearance for England.

England have not lost an international match in their last 25 games and are among the heavy favourites going into the tournament.

She said: "I think the fact that we have three Air Force girls going to the World Cup, all from different countries, is just amazing.

"I am really excited for us all to go out there and smash it."