Major teams: Atlanta Harlequins
Test span: 1989-2006
A World Cup winner with the USA, Patty Jervey was among the group of first women’s players to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and she is one of the most highly-regarded players of her generation in the American game.
Over her 31-year rugby career, which began as a student at the University of South Carolina before she moved to play at a higher level at Florida State University, she won 40 international caps – a reflection of how little Test rugby the USA played until recently.
She made her international debut in 1989 and remarkably the centre is still playing some rugby now – she played a club game on her 50th birthday. She attributes her longevity to regular bodywork, from massages to chiropractic sessions.
Part of the team that beat England 19-6 at the first Women’s World Cup final in 1991, Jervey appeared in four more World Cups in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006, and ended her career as the highest point-scorer for her country with 178.
“Patty was an ideal team-mate,” fellow 1991 Eagle Annie Flavin said. “A fiercely competitive worker on the field, just knowing she was in the back-line was always so reassuring, especially for a plodding tight-fiver.”
In her club career, Jervey has also made a significant impact right up to recent years, as she’s helped Atlanta Harlequins win a Division One National Championship and has coached the USA Rugby South Women’s All-Stars.
“I feel that I was born to play this game,” she says. “I know this because of those ten to 12 moments I’ve experienced in my career when it just feels perfect – the colour of the grass on the pitch, the sound you hear when the ball is in the air. I’ve had great moments when I have felt so connected to every element of the game – in the zone.”