With England having hosted the Rugby World Cup this year, it seems fair to say that Rugby fever has swept the nation! Now, there are many people looking to play Rugby in London. In particular, an ever-increasing number of women have been inspired to find their local Rugby pitch and club and get involved in the beautiful game!
So, knowing that many of our users may be thinking about starting playing women’s Rugby in London, we chatted to Nikkie, who plays for Beckenham Ladies Rugby Club to find out her experiences of Rugby and how she got involved in it!
How long have you played Rugby for?
I’ve played 8 seasons over the last 10 years. 3 years then a years break where there was no one near me with a Ladies team, then 2 years at uni and a year’s break because I broke my leg and now 3 years for my current team.
What made you get into playing Rugby?
Aged 13 as a Girl Guide we had a one-off tag tournament with other Guide groups. After that my sister basically dragged me out of bed on a Sunday to train with the under-13’s team at the club that hosted the tag tournament. I have this distinct memory of looking at her from my bed like ‘I HATE SPORT’ and then finally giving in. I never looked back, and I’m back playing for that same club now!
How easy did you find it to get involved in Rugby?
Fairly easy, I was very lucky that the club near me has a very wide range of teams, at the time they had a Ladies team, an under-18 and under -3 Girl’s team. I’ve found all three clubs I’ve played for really welcoming. Women’s rugby players are always so passionate about convincing more women to get into the sport.
What are your thoughts on the Rugby world cup this year?
I can’t even think about it my heart has been broken! I went to a few games, went all out with the face paint which was really fun, and the atmospheres have been incredible. But I was so sad when England didn’t get through the group stages.
Have you seen any change in on the number of women getting involved in Rugby off the back of the world cup?
If you were asking me about the Women’s world cup last year I’d say yes. I think the success of the Women’s team and the awarding of professional contracts has really pushed women’s rugby, and we have a seconds team for the first time, which is a massive achievement for our club.
In the long run, do you think that the Rugby World Cup will have an impact on grassroots rugby participation, for both men and women?
Honestly I think it will. I think it’s brought Rugby into people’s minds. Friends of mine who have never shown an interest in my Rugby have been asking me about it, have been telling me that they’ve made an effort to watch and to learn the rules, whether or not they went to a live game or have just been watching on the TV. I think it would have been better if the northern hemisphere had done a bit better, I think a lot of people who aren’t usually rugby fans lost interest after the quarter finals, but I do think that that increased level of understanding of rugby and that enjoyment of the sport makes more people interested in trying out playing it.
Do you think there are enough places to play Rugby in London?
In London I think we’re really lucky, There are a lot of clubs with ladies teams and our league games aren’t too far away as there are enough teams of a similar level. Outside of London I think it’s a lot more difficult and players have to travel a long way. Don’t get me wrong I travel over an hour there and an hour back to train twice a week but I think of my friend in Germany who travels two and feel pretty grateful! Also, I chose to travel further because I’ve moved house since I started playing for Beckenham and the team is my family now, I’d travel any distance to get back and train with them.
BY - Alicia Clarke
11 November 2015