- Gill Burns Women's County Champs finals take place this Sunday
- Surrey meet Lancashire in Division One final at noon
- Essex v Leicestershire in Division Two final at 10am
For someone who has played such a significant role in women’s rugby over the last 30 years, Gill Burns is clear on what have been her career highlights, both on and off the pitch.
“Winning the World Cup in 1994 was incredible,” says the former England captain who represented the national side from 1998-2002.
“But something I always look back on and treasure away from my playing career is being part of the early growth of the game.”
Burns was instrumental in establishing women’s county rugby and this year the competition was renamed in her honour to become the Gill Burns Women’s County Championship.
“I was flabbergasted to be asked, said Burns. “It is a wonderful honour. As a player it was a privilege to play for my county and to see how far the game has come since then is fantastic.”
Last year’s inaugural competition saw Surrey claim the Division One title with this year’s newly renamed competition also includes a Division Two tier made up of 10 teams.
"Last year’s matches showed the appetite for a competitive competition for women across the country and I hope that the tournament becomes a pillar of county rugby, helping develop the women’s game across the regions,” said Buns.
“This competition gives players across the country a fantastic opportunity to test themselves. When you play with your county it is a passion that can’t be replicated. You and your teammates all from the same place and you have a shared sense of belonging.”
The 26 sides taking part across both tiers this year have played several rounds of fixtures and Burns says Richmond is a fitting venue to host the two finals.
“I played many times at Richmond, it is historically a great venue for women’s rugby. To reach this stage is a fantastic achievement and all the players involved should savour the occasion.”