Fire service duo picked to play for England in Rugby World Cup

Firefighter Sarah Dunn and emergency control operator Kirsty Moroney will be flying the flag for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) at the Women’s Rugby League World Cup in Australia this month.

Sarah, who is originally from Chester-le-Street but now lives in Leeds, plays for Women’s Super League runners-up Featherstone Rovers. It will be her first Rugby League World Cup, having only started playing the sport four years ago. She said: “It’s quite surreal. I never thought it would happen, so I’m just so excited to get out there.”

Having joined WYFRS as a firefighter in 2003, Sarah has served at stations around Leeds district. She previously played football, but was spotted by the women’s rugby league national development squad four years ago and has not looked back. She plays centre.

Kirsty, from Halifax, has been playing rugby league for 20 years and is Captain of the Women’s Super League winning team, Bradford Bulls. She plays at scrum-half and is a seasoned World Cup professional, having played in the previous two Women’s Rugby League World Cups. She has worked in the brigade control room for two years and previously worked in the fitness industry.

Kirsty said: “Even though I know what to expect, I am still extremely proud to play for my country. I am a little nervous, as I don’t think any of us are prepared for just how big the tournament is going to be.”

Sarah added that she felt being a firefighter had many similarities with playing rugby. “There are many benefits to being a firefighter which tie in with rugby. You have to work as a close-knit member of a team to succeed.” She also said she hoped a good England performance would give the sport of women’s rugby league a well-deserved boost.

England will play their pool games at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney, against Papua New Guinea Orchids on 16 November, Australia Jillaroos on 19 November and The Cook Islands on 22 November.

The semi-finals will take place on 26 November and the final will be played before the men’s final at Brisbane Stadium on 2 December.