Grace Field on England experience

Posted: Sunday 12th July 2020 - 12:53 PM

This article is taken from July's edition of Castleford Tigers' monthly magazine ROAR which is available to read in full, for free, HERE.

Field spoke with ROAR magazine about her rise to the international game, her move to Castleford and her time with England…

Q – Back in 2018 you signed from Featherstone to Castleford. In 2019 you are playing away in PNG for your country. Now in 2020, you are gearing up for potentially your first World Cup. Things are happening quickly for you Grace, aren’t they?

A - It’s very surreal that this is all happening. I signed for Castleford and got into the England Performance Unit, then in no time I was on my way to PNG which is an experience that I will never ever forget. Now, less than 500 days to the World Cup, it’s very exciting, it’s a time to kick on and make sure that I’m doing everything possible as a player to get my name in that squad and my name in that team sheet.

Q – How beneficial was your move to Castleford with regards to you becoming an international player?

A - My move to Castleford has been the most beneficial thing I’ve done for my rugby career so far. I worked with Lindsay Anfield [Castleford head coach] previously at England students prior to playing at Cas. She’s a great coach, she’s really knowledgeable. She gets to know the player and how they tick and what they respond to. She knows how to handle her players well. That’s something that’s really brought on my game. She encourages me and pushes me to be better. I’m not allowed to take my foot off the gas at any point because Lindsay is breathing down my neck to always push myself. Alongside all the other coaching staff such as Maz [Marie Colley] and Cal [Callum Windley]. They’ve definitely improved my game. I’ve become more versatile in my role rather than just hitting the ball up and making a couple of big hits.

Q – You have played under Lindsay for a very long time. How would you compare her coaching style to the England head coach, Craig Richards?

A - I think they’re complementary styles. Obviously, at Cas we like to play expansive, and I think that’s very complimentary to what we’re doing with England. We’re trying to play to our advantages. We know we may not be the biggest of nations but we have the advantage that we can be the fittest and we can be the fastest. I think both styles of rugby do compliment themselves. Hence why you’ve got lots of girls from Castleford currently in the performance unit and the Knights.

Q – You are one of multiple Castleford players to be in the England set-up, why do you think that is?

A - I think it’s amazing that we get so many people. It pays dividends to the high-level coaching, high-quality facilities that we have access to. I know there are a lot of people who say it’s not very fair that only three or four teams are selected from but that’s down to the fact that they offer the best facilities and the best coaching standards. I think that’s very much why all these teams are having such success. I think the likes of Hollie Dodd, she broke onto the scene, a bit of a whirlwind year for her. She’s worked hard and more than deserves her place on the performance squad. I think it’s great that Lacey Owen’s hard work has paid off and has finally made the performance squad; well deserved. I think all the other girls that have made it, they deserved it because they’ve worked hard on their game and they worked hard on the pitch/off the pitch to make sure they are making the right moves towards this world cup and bettering themselves as players. I think each of them deserves a place in the performance unit.

Q – Looking at the England Performance squad, there’s a lot of Leeds players, there’s a lot of Saints players, do you all get along well?

A - At the end of the day, when you play for your country you put your differences as clubs aside and become one unit. I think that’s important going forward that we recognise that the term ‘Wall of White’ is very symbolic of what you do at international level. You become one unit, you start to bond as a team. We all get on very well with everyone else. All the girls are very accommodating and all make the effort to get to know each other. I think the PNG tour especially helped to create friendships and bonds which will help us when going forward towards the world cup. The more senior players in the squad – you can tell they have the experience. They make you feel very welcome in the team. It’s a good experience and I think it’s something that players should aspire to do.

Even though you come up against them and things happen, you just laugh about it. It’s good to be able to switch on and off. You can banter each other about it. All the girls have a good sense of humor. Everyone’s pretty laid back and chilled. Once you get into camp it no longer becomes about club allegiances, it becomes about your country.

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