She captained Great Britain and England, leading the latter to the final of the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991. Inspired by the stories of women who play rugby, Carol Isherwood returned to the University of Leeds and built a team. Inspired by another rugby player, Isherwood was studying at the University of Leeds when she created a rugby team for her girlfriends. Carol Isherwood, a founding member of the Women’s Rugby Football Union, pioneered the game’s development in England. One of the most influential careers in women’s rugby began. Within two years, Carol Isherwood was elected as the first President of the Women’s Rugby Football Union (WRFU) upon its founding in London in 1983.

Carol Isherwood worked as a “half-assistant coach”. ‘while England went on to win the subsequent Women’s Rugby World Cup and held various senior positions with the WRFU and later the Women’s Rugby Union (RFUW). Isherwood captained the first English and British women’s rugby teams before ending her career less than ten years before her start due to injury. She served as the head coach of Emerging England, the England U19s, as well as periods at Leeds, Richmond, and Henley during her coaching career. She presented the team to a game she named “Killing as an Organised Sport” (KAOS), where participants communicated creative death threats to each other as a way of diversion while helping during the 1994 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Carol Isherwood was a founding member of the Women’s Rugby Football Union. The Women’s Rugby Football Union made rugby more accessible to everyone in England and the UK, something Isherwood did not take credit for, despite being more than deserving of it. Isherwood first joined RFUW in 1997 as Director of Performance and has since been actively involved in developing an effective partnership with RFU and ensuring the sustainability of the women’s game for players, clubs and at the elite level of the game.

The program also supports a core pillar of World Rugby’s announced player welfare program: a focus on the women’s game. Led and coordinated by Carol Isherwood of the World Rugby Hall of Fame, World Rugby High-Performance Advisor, Japan Women’s Head Coach Greg McWilliams, and World Rugby High-Performance Council Member, World Rugby High-Performance Advisor David Hadfield, the Women’s High-Performance Academy. The program will cover six modules designed to develop national coaches’ broad knowledge and skills in a high-performance environment and foster long-term growth and development. It was almost a no-brainer that Carol Isherwood would be the first woman to join the IRB football committee, but as a player, coach and administrator for more than 25 years, she’s used to leading the sport.