Nov 09, 2017
Garnett named in historic women’s Baa-Baas squad
Saracens and England legend Amy Garnett has been named in the first ever women’s Barbarians squad that will play Munster on Friday 10th November. The famous invitation club founded in 1890 will make its women's debut at Thomond Park against the Irish side and will play against club, provincial and international sides with a full schedule to be confirmed later this year. Garnett forms part of the 23-strong squad selected from across seven different nations as she contributes her own century of England caps to the 1,019 international caps between the side.
“I was pretty blown away to be asked to join the most famous club side in the world” said the former Saracens captain. “It’s an absolute honour to wear the black and white Barbarians shirt and have the excitement of playing on that stage again and with players I’ve usually only played against before. I can’t wait to get my boots and gum shield dragged down from the loft one more time!”
Garnett is a trailblazer in the women’s game, becoming the first English woman to gain a hundred caps for her country and now named amongst the first ever Barbarians squad, and is relishing the opportunity to line up alongside many of the familiar faces she’s played with and against in the past.
“I am looking forward to getting back in the scrum with my old England roomy and great friend Claire Cripps (Purdy), and Becky Essex. Saracens Women have always had a strong allegiance with Canada and I have been lucky to play alongside some of the best Canadian players there so I will be able to add Kelly Russell to that prestigious list now. I will hopefully be linking up with New Zealand World Champion Emma Jenson, having played against each other in three World Cup finals before. There are so many great players new and old that I can’t wait to play alongside including Chris Leduff and Fiona Coghlan.”
The squad, coached by Wasps Ladies Director of Rugby Giselle Mather and Saracens Women’s founding member Liza Burgess met up in Ireland on Wednesday and will have just two days together before the game on Friday. “The coaches have set us some homework to help the players gel when we arrive and I’m sure they will put us through our paces so we hit the ground running come game time.”
Garnett captained Saracens Women from 2007 to 2009 and under her leadership secured three back to back Premiership titles during a period the team went unbeaten, a feat not achieved by any club before or since. The hooker retired from club rugby in 2015 after securing her final Premiership trophy and believes the women’s game is going from strength to strength.
“The record number of people watching the World Cup final, the introduction of the new Tyrrells Premier 15s and now the first ever Women’s Baa-Baas team, I can only simply describe it as - WOW! It’s been a lot of hard work by lots of people and players, but nothing that isn’t deserved. Rugby is such an amazing game whoever it’s played by, so let’s harness that and get it out to the world.”