Team Brunel and Ealing Trailfinders are delighted to announce that former England players Kat Merchant and Kim Oliver have been appointed as the two coaches to manage the women’s academy and rugby programme at Brunel University.
The duo, who have over 100 caps for England between them have been recruited to work together to build the foundations of the women’s academy programme alongside that of the men. Merchant, who won the World Cup in 2014, scored a remarkable 44 tries in 58 appearances for the Red Roses on the wing. She had a nine-year spell for the national team after making her debut in 2005, and played for her country in both the 15s and 7s formats of the sport.
Oliver played in two World Cups for England in 2006 and 2010 at inside centre, and gained 43 caps. Since retiring from international rugby in 2013 she became Head Coach of Bristol Bears Women, adding significant coaching experience to her CV.
Kim Oliver said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to be in at the beginning of what I think will be a great asset to the development of the women's game. I have known Kat for a long time and we played together so I really look forward to working with her.”
Kat Merchant added: “Kim and I have different styles but our coaching philosophy is very similar, we expect all players no matter their talent to work hard to be the best that they can be. I'm really looking forward to working together and believe that we will complement each other as we build an athlete centred, challenging, fun environment that will get the best out of the players that we have access to. We both know the challenges of having to end our rugby careers early due to injury and we see the balance of education and rugby as the right mix within the Trailfinders system.”
Ealing Trailfinders recently announced a significant scholarship fund for the Brunel University London women's programme, available for talented and aspirational rugby players, as they committed to creating a world class hub for women’s rugby on campus.
At the Union we are really excited to be able to offer such high level coaching to our students next year, and are looking forward to watching the team continue to progress up the BUCS Leagues!
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