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Rugby World Cup: Flying England economy to NZ a “challenging decision”, says RFU

Rugby World Cup: Flying England economy to NZ a “challenging decision”, says RFU

England's Poppy Cleall runs with the ball
England’s last loss came against New Zealand in 2019

Flying England’s women in economy class to the World Cup in New Zealand has been described as a “challenging decision” by the Rugby Football Union.

The Red Roses are favourites to win the title and begin their journey, which will take almost 30 hours, on Friday.

England’s men travelled business class to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The RFU said that because the women’s side is loss making, “we have to make challenging decisions around what we can invest in”.

England’s journey begins on Friday and they arrive in New Zealand on Sunday lunchtime, with light training currently planned two days later before full training on Thursday.

The Red Roses are the number one side in the world, set a record of 25 consecutive Test wins earlier in September and play their opening World Cup match against Fiji on 8 October.

England were the first women’s XVs side to be offered full-time contracts in 2019.

The RFU said it was “proud of the progress we’ve made”, adding that team management decided to invest in “additional physios, performance coaches, a nutritionist and a full-time psychologist… rather than flying in business”.

The decision comes after England captain Sarah Hunter defended the halving of the side’s match fees for World Cup warm-up games.

In 2018, airline British Airways announced that it would fly the England men’s and women’s teams to their respective World Cups.external-link as part of its partnership with the RFU.

However, that was before New Zealand was named as the host of the women’s tournament and the RFU said it had chosen to use “an alternative carrier” because British Airways “does not currently fly directly” to the country.

It is understood that Red Roses players have been asked not to post about their flight on social media, with the reason given that the chosen airline is not an official partner of England Rugby.

In July, England’s men flew business class to Australia with British Airways for their summer tour.

England's men's side stand on the steps of a British Airways plane with the England Rugby logo and the words #SweetChariot
England’s men flew to Japan on an England Rugby-branded plane for the 2019 Rugby World Cup

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