Women’s rugby World Cup star awarded honorary degree
Rugby World Cup star Emily Scarratt has received an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University, where she studied for her undergraduate degree.
Emily, who was part of the victorious England side who triumphed in the 2014 World Cup, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Sport Science by the School of Sport, on Wednesday 22 July, for her contribution to sport.
Speaking about receiving the award, Emily said: “It’s amazing to be back here at Leeds Beckett to receive this award. The last four years since I graduated have been crazy to say the least. To think that I’m now a professional rugby player, having won a World Cup is incredible.
“The World Cup win in 2014 was the culmination of a life’s work, such a relief and the most amazing feeling. Everything that’s happened after that has been out of this world and it’s a phenomenal thought looking ahead to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.”
Speaking about the growing profile of women’s sport, Emily added: “Women’s sport is on a huge up, with the This Girl Can campaign, the success of our England women’s footballers and the women’s Ashes series that is taking place at the moment, combined with our recent World Cup success. The profile of women’s sport is so much better than it ever has been and is heading in the right direction. There are so many fantastic role models that are inspiring girls, women and grandmas, whoever it might be, that you can still be active and you can still get involved socially or competitively because sport is a great thing to be part of.”
Emily, who joined Leeds Beckett in 2008 to study BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, was the leading points scorer in the 2014 Rugby World Cup, scoring 16 points in the final against Canada, including a sensational individual try.
With 56 caps for England, Emily was awarded the Sky Sportswoman of the Month award in March 2014 and won the RPA England Women’s Players’ Player in 2013; she has been shortlisted for the same award this year. She was also nominated for the IRB Sevens Player of the Year and was part of the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year in 2014. Emily’s international rugby career began in 2008 aged 18. She scored twelve tries in her first twelve appearances for England. Emily was part of the England side that finished runners-up in the 2010 Rugby World Cup and also took part in the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Russia.
Having now been awarded a central contract by the Rugby Football Union following the World Cup, Emily no longer has to divide her time between training and her role as a PE assistant at King Edward’s School in Birmingham. She is an integral part of the England sevens team who have just qualified for the Olympic Games on behalf of Great Britain, and will be hoping to win a medal in Rio in 2016. In July, Emily captained England as they defeated Canada 15-14 in the final Rugby Super Series match, securing the runner-up spot behind New Zealand.
Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: “We are delighted to welcome Emily back to Leeds Beckett to celebrate her fantastic achievements both on and off the sporting field. She is an inspirational woman and a fine ambassador for women’s sport. We are so pleased to recognise her achievements alongside our graduating students.”