The Nedlands Rugby Club can now lay claim to being represented at the highest level of the code following the appointment of the club’s leading try-scorer, Cheryl Soon, to the International Rugby Board.
Cheryl started her career with Neddies in 1998 and was an instrumental figure in an era in which Neddies won the women’s premiership for five straight years from 1999-2003.
She still holds the club’s try-scoring record of 31 tries in a single season, which she achieved in 1999.
Continuing the outstanding form at halfback she showed for Neddies, under the coaching of Sue Roberts, Cheryl went on to win selection selected in the Walleroos in 2008 along with former Neddies team-mate Tui Ormsby.
From there, Cheryl went on to captain the Australian women’s team to success in the 2009 IRB Rugby World Cup sevens in Dubai, where she was cheered along by former Neddies patron and Emirates Airlines executive Richard Vaughan as Australia edged out New Zealand in an extra-time thriller in the grand final.
Cheryl also captained the Australian team to third place at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2010 and featured prominently in the IRB’s successful bid to include sevens rugby in the Olympic Games.
Cheryl has been appointed to the IRB’s influential Rugby Committee, where she will sit alongside the likes of Sir Graham Henry and former international greats such as Graham Mourie, Bill Beaumont, Michael Hawker, Agustin Pichot and Fabian Pelous.
Commenting on Cheryl’s appointment, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapassat said: “There are few more experienced and passionate about the development of women’s rugby than Cheryl Soon, who brought her passion to our successful bid to deliver Rugby Sevens’ inclusion in the Olympic Games. She is a winner and we are delighted that she has accepted the invitation and look forward to her invaluable contribution to the IRB Rugby Committee and the game worldwide.”
ARU Managing Director John O’Neill also paid tribute to Cheryl.
“On the field Cheryl led from the front with passion and commitment, since retiring she has used those leadership skills and passion for the game to help promote and grow women’s rugby.”
“She was a prominent fore in rugby’s successful bid to be included in the Olympic Games program – making a wonderful address to the International Olympic Committee assembly on behalf of rugby sevens – and has for a long time been a role model to young players coming through the ranks.”