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South coast students to get top class coaching from England internationals

09 October 2009

  • England’s female stars to coach university players
  • South coast students to benefit from four sessions on tackling and handling

England's Fiona Pocock beats a Welsh opponent with ball

Photo: Getty Images

Female students from South coast universities are being given the chance to learn the skills of tackling and handling from England's top female international rugby players this month.

Students at Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighton, Bournemouth, Surrey, Winchester, Southampton Solent, Sussex, Brighton and Chichester have been invited to the four introduction sessions where they will be coached by members of the 2009 RBS 6 Nations winning team.

England are also the reigning Nations Cup champions and will host the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup in August and September next year.

Clare Cooper, Women's Rugby Development Manager for the Rugby Football Union for Women, said the scheme is to help recruit more players into the game

She said: "Women's university teams often recruit new players in Freshers' Week only to lose them to other sports because the prospect of playing contact rugby is often daunting to those who have never played before. What we want to do through this programme is show them how they can play safely by learning tackling and handling skills."

Nick Parker, the University of Portsmouth's community rugby coach, added: "This is a great initiative to introduce new players to the game. With England Women, finalists in the last two Rugby World Cups, helping to deliver the sessions it will give them the chance to learn from the very best.

"We certainly hope this programme will help universities across the south to be more successful in recruiting and retaining players, which in turn will help develop their teams and strengthen the game of grassroots women's rugby."