How did you first get into the sport?
I have grown up around rugby and remember my Dad taking me to watch my first match at Twickenham and loving that adrenaline rush of the atmosphere. Now he comes to support me in our games and cheers us on. I had dabbled a bit in tag rugby at school but never full on contact and was keen to give it a go. I have now been playing for the Reading team for three years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I currently play as both wing and flanker for the women’s team and highly anticipate each upcoming game.
What do you enjoy about it and what are you looking forward to this year?
You meet people! I don’t think I have ever met a nicer group of ladies who you watch grow in confidence from the start of the year to fully experienced players now helping to train the next generation of players. It makes you feel so proud to see how far we have come with us in our 2015/16 season coming third in the league to now kicking ass at matches with wins like 128–0 and running rings round the opposition. I am very excited for us to have our first home game of the season on 29 November so be sure to come along and support as it will be a big moment for all of us, especially the freshers’ who are performing spectacularly this year.
What makes it stand out for you as a sport?
There’s something special about being part of a team and it generates respect and friendship very quickly. You help each other both on and off the pitches and it is a tight community. We hang out most weeks with cheeky union shenanigans thrown in. It also opens up some amazing opportunities for players such as our glittering television appearance on ‘Rugby Tonight’ alongside Wasps’ half back Jimmy Gopperth and, of course, our yearly tour to some great countries like Dublin and Berlin last season.
What is your day like?
On Monday we have an evening training session where we focus usually on skills for our upcoming Wednesday matches with our Second Team Captain putting us through our fitness paces to help us improve our endurance during games. We usually split into two packs to concentrate on our forward and backwards movements so I still wonder which I’m working with sometimes due to playing both positions. Tuesday evening I anxiously wait for the all-important team sheet and then whack out some promo for the team via our social media sites. I have been part of the committee for two years now working as the ladies social media secretary in helping to build up their profile on campus and I am always pleased to see people spreading the word. Wednesday is action stations with the committee planning whose taking what kit and ready to meet the squad for 80 minutes of fast paced match action. There’s never a dull moment even if you are supporting and we always end up celebrating no matter the outcome.
What is your best moment?
Ah there is too many to choose for number one! I think I would have to say scoring my first home game try. It was my first year playing for the team and I managed to fly past everyone, and my only regret was that I hadn’t got it under the post to make the kick easier for our fullback. Seriously though, I look forward to everyone banding together whether it is at training, introducing new players to positions, going out to conquer the dance floor at our socials, and celebrating wins with the classic Reading University rugby chant at the top of our lungs.