Yep that’s right I’m a rugby player and I love it!!! So lets give you an overview of why I love this magnificent sport!
I’ve always been a sporty type so I would give any sport a good go. At school I dabbled in hockey, netball, squash, tennis, rounders (yes I class it as a sport), cricket, football and athletics (which I detested!). Playing hockey was my favourite sport at the time but things changed when I was 16 years old. My school friend Laura (who currently plays for England!) helped set up a girls rugby team at school. When I first picked up this peculiar looking egg shaped ball and did my first tackle in training, I absolutely loved it and it soon became my new favourite sport (and still is)! With the help our sports coach, a group of us trained very hard during lunch times and after school. Such determination paid off as we went on to become the National Schools 7s champion in 2006 & 2007:
Then I played rugby at uni and now for my local team, St Mary’s Old Boys Ladies RFC. I’ve been at St Mary’s for 7 amazing years and it’s flown by- times flies by when you’re having fun right?!
So why do I play this crazy egg chasing sport?
Size doesn’t matter
Person: So what do you do in your spare time?
Me: I play rugby.
Person: Oh really??! Aren’t you a bit small to be playing rugby?
Me: (Looks offended) No!!!
Unlike football where most players are skinny and netballers are also tall and skinny, it doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, large or small there’ll be a position suited to you…FACT.
Many people have this conception that you have to be built like a brick shit house in order to play rugby but this isn’t the case. If you’re agile and small then you’re suited in the backs in comparison to being bigger and stronger going to a forward will be perfect for you.
We train together twice a week, have social nights and play a match on Sundays so no doubt there is this great camaraderie and trust amongst us. What’s more, having to trust someone to thrust you up in the line out and hold you there (prying to God that they don’t drop you) or you’re in a scrum, crouching down and suddenly you feel someone’s head pressing against your arse or protecting you when you’re at the bottom of a pile-you will strike up a friendship like second to none and if you have great banter then you’ll fit right in!
I remember on a cold dark winters day, we were coming back to the club house on the venga (mini) bus after a match. The petrol was low and one of the girls joked, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we ran out of petrol?!?!‘. Lo and behold the bus suddenly stopped (she wasn’t in our good books that evening), luckily we were about 1 mile away from the club house. We all got out of the bus and someone shouted, ‘Yip what are you doing?!?!’ and I responded ‘It’s dark so I’m guiding the bus back to the club house!!!’. Whilst I looked like a douch-bag holding my phone as a torch, the rest of the girls used their strength and as a unit pushed it back to the club house…..that’s what you call team work!
What’s more, we play as a team and trust individuals to do their job and with hard work and determination we went on to become the League winners in 2016…BOOM!!!
Believe it or not rugby is a contact sport!!! The game is very physical and it’s a vicious cycle of tackling, getting tackled, rucking, scrummaging, line outs- it’s pretty hardcore stuff! I used to hate playing netball at school because I always get blown up as I was ‘too physical’. I knew back then rugby was the perfect sport for me. A few years back, I had blood streaming down my nose after I tackled this girl and the ref had to stop the game. I told the coach to bring over the vaseline and I literally took a handful of it and shoved it up my nostril (it wasn’t a pretty site), it did the job and I carried on playing!!!
It’s inevitable that you will get bruises and there’s no getting away from it, call me weird but I LOVE it! For me, after being in battle I want a war wound to show for all the efforts I put in, so when I get this:
…it’s a bloody stunner!!! I yet to get a shiner, I get proper jealous when some of the girls do, it’s a beaut! Such bruises shows that girls can also play this brutal sport and can hit as hard as the men do!
The main response for ladies to not play rugby is, ‘I’m too small to play rugby, I’ll properly get broken!!!‘. This isn’t the case, there are some who looks small and fragile but in actual fact they’re strong tacklers! You’d know it if you got tackled by them!!! I once tackled this girl and I drove her back 2-3 metres and it felt gooooooooooood!
Discipline & Sportsmanship
Discipline is a key factor in rugby. The ref will not take no shit if you’re yelling at them like a banshee. Even if you disagree with their decisions, you have to respect them, otherwise you find yourself going back another 10 metres! It’s not like in football where you see professional players screaming at the officials! I mean they’re not setting themselves as good examples to the kids! So it’s great to see huge rugby players towering Mr Nigel Owens respecting his decisions and getting on with the game.
There’s a great sense of sportsmanship in rugby! A few times when I’ve been tackled and afterwards the tackler would ask if I’m alright! Goes to show that we understand the physicality of the game and it’s nothing more than a healthy competition, we’re not there to beat the crap out of each other!
After the match, we forget who’s won or lost and it’s always been the case that we eat and drink with the opposition. As tradition, we have a cheeky competition of who can drink the fastest between the player of the match from each side whilst standing on the chair. The rest of us will urge them with rugby chants! That’s the spirit of rugby.
SOOOOOOO there you have it, I apologise for going on and on and on- you probably thought when does this EVER end???!!! It’s a great passion of mine and I encourage all of you to take it up and no matter your age, size or ability there’ll be a position for you. It’s a great way to make friends and get fit!
PS: If you’re based around Bristol, UK and you would like to know a bit more about my team please check out our Facebook page.