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South Africa swoop for a pioneer very much at the top of her game

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Lynne Cantwell. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Lynne Cantwell. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Lynne Cantwell. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

In 2011 the Rugby Writers of Ireland (RWI) awarded their first Women’s Player of the Year award to Lynne Cantwell. It would be a lie to suggest the decision was reached after an exhaustive review of video footage. Equally it would be wrong to suggest the recipient was not head and shoulders above the other contenders — no mean feat if you think of the characters in that Ireland side who would go on to beat New Zealand a few years later in the World Cup.

Cantwell nailed another first last week when appointed as women’s high performance director in the South African game. We’re guessing the South African Rugby Union were more diligent in their research than RWI had been 10 years earlier. But the result was the same: they chose wisely. First, after their men’s World Cup success in 2019, the South African Rugby Union approached Cantwell as an outside consultant to do a report on what their women’s game looked like. Second, they liked what they read, and offered her the job.


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