Sudbury Rugby Club star Lucy Norbrun heading to Malaysia for the Touch World Cup with England
Sudbury Ladies’ Lucy Norburn has received an international call up, to compete for England Women at the Touch World Cup in Malaysia from April.
The 17-year-old West Suffolk College pupil is an old hat at international touch rugby, having helped the England senior touch squad to a European Championship gold medal in July 2018, as well as making regular appearances in the youth sections.
But she said the call-up for the world event was ‘a bit of a surprise’ as she expected to remain with the youth set-up for a while longer.
Norburn said it will also be the first time she has travelled abroad for a rugby tournament, with last year’s Europeans in Nottingham.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “And it’s really close actually, there’s only three training weekends left – and we’ll also take part in a pre-season tournament too at the end of March, but then it’s the world cup.
“I really wasn’t expecting it though, I thought – because of my age – that I would be considered for the junior squad, even though I did take part in the senior European Championships.
“It will be the first time I’ve even played abroad, let alone somewhere as hot as Malaysia.
“I’ve only been playing touch rugby for about three and a half years so this will be a completely new experience.”
Norburn trains with the Cambridge Touch Association and will be joined in the Women’s Open squad by club colleagues Rosannah Cormack and Anna Goddard.
She added it will be good to have some familiar faces in the team, to help her feel a part of it – but she expects to get a regular team place in the 16-strong crew.
“I’m one of only three specialised wingers,” she said.
“And obviously a winger is about speed and plenty of running, I have no idea how hard it’s going to be to keep going in the Malaysian heat.
“But you’re not actually having to play too long at one time, because you have a short time to try to do something before the ball is turned over – and two teams with your attackers and defenders.”
She said that, despite going as European Champions, England Women are not considered a title favourite against the likes of Australia and Singapore.
“They’ve been really dominant in touch rugby,” she said. “So it won’t be easy, but we had a meeting about our aims and we’re absolutely going for gold, what’s the point otherwise?
“But we know it’s going to be hard, so we’ll go with the intention of giving it 100 per cent and just see what happens.
“There’s a feeling, among the older players that took part in the last one, of wanting to do better than that.”
England were only able to record one victory from six in Stage Two of the 2015 World Cup and eventually finished in sixth place overall, losing to Japan in the fifth-sixth place play-off.
So far there are 17 nations entered into the five day tournament.