Joanne YappJoanne Yapp


Joanne Yapp, born on September 26, 1979, has carved her name into the annals of rugby history with a sterling career that has seen her transition from a player of the highest caliber to a coach with a visionary outlook. As an English rugby union coach and former player, Yapp’s journey in the sport has been marked by a series of groundbreaking achievements, not least her representation of England at the 1998 and 2002 Rugby World Cups and her captaincy of the team in the 2006 edition of the tournament. Her leadership skills and rugby acumen led her to a historical appointment as the Wallaroos’ first female Head Coach at the end of 2023, setting a precedent for future generations.

Teams and Career Milestones

Yapp’s rugby career took off as she represented England in the 1998 and Cups, events that put her on the map as a formidable player 2002 Rugby World on the international stage. Her pinnacle as a player came in 2006 when she captained England at the World Cup final in Canada, a testament to her skill and leadership. Yapp hung up her boots after playing her last test in 2009, but her love for the game and her competitive spirit endured.

Coaching Legacy

The transition from the field to the sidelines was seamless for Yapp, who began her coaching career with the England Women’s U20s program, guiding the next generation of rugby stars for five years. Her expertise was further recognized when she assumed the role of skills coach for Worcester Warriors Women before being promoted to director of rugby. Under her leadership, the team reached the sixth Premier 15s competition before the club was dissolved. Additionally, she lent her coaching prowess to the Barbarians women’s team on two occasions.

Yapp’s coaching credentials were solidified through her involvement with Exeter University, where as head coach for eight years, she led the team to BUCS gold in 2013 at Twickenham and followed up with BUCS gold in sevens in 2014. Her role as England women’s backs coach in the 2015 Women’s Six Nations Championship further highlighted her tactical intelligence and her ability to inspire players to greatness.

The year 2023 marked a significant milestone as Rugby Australia entrusted Yapp with the role of Head Coach for the Australia women’s team, making her the first woman to hold this position. This appointment not only speaks to her exceptional coaching credentials but also her role as a pioneer for women in rugby, inspiring a new era where gender is no barrier to achieving the highest echelons in sports leadership.

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