- Art student opens up a new sporting canvas
- Newcomers embrace rugby women’s game
Photo: RFU Archive
Huddersfield University have joined the rapidly-expanding ranks of student centres who have embraced women’s rugby union, with their recent debut outing at Yarnbury RUFC in Leeds proving a huge success.
The team is another creation from the extensive portfolio of Puy* Soden, a PHD art student who decided that, rather than go and find a team to join, she would try to form one at the University. Now her ambitions have been fulfilled.
With the support from the university club, the RFU and a major recruitment drive at the start of the academic term, the club now boasts over 20 players who are all new to the game.
“I’ve always wanted to play rugby,” says Puy. “It’s a very inclusive sport and I want to encourage women from all stages to join what is already a fantastic sports club at the University. The benefits of fitness, friendship, fun and being part of the rugby family are obvious and it’s a great way to build structure and a sense of belonging, especially for those at the start of their course.
“Rugby Union welcomes players of all levels and there is a place for everyone on the team. Women can sometimes feel intimidated or put off by certain stereotypes or fears about the impact of the sport – we are breaking down those barriers and invite anyone to come along and give it a go.
“Now I’m staying in Huddersfield for at least the next four years to do a PhD, I’m in it for the long haul and can give the club the continuity needed to maintain an inclusive, supportive structure for the development of the Women’s Section.”
The girls involved have made a solid start to the season, forming a link with the Halifax RUFC women’s section which gives the girls further opportunities to play in a competitive environment outside the University.
Coincidentally, the Women’s team at Leeds Trinity University has also had a large influx of new players this year and local Rugby Football Union Community Rugby Coaches Chris Stone and Kris Stafford were quick to forge another tie-up which will help both sets of girls to sustain their rugby enthusiasm.
First meeting between the pair came recently at a development afternoon at Yarnbury RUFC for the newly formed West Yorkshire Teams when the Huddersfield girls were able to put their work on the training pitch to the acid test in their debut outing.
“The afternoon was a great success with all girls involved getting the opportunity to participate in their first ever competitive game in which the score-line was irrelevant and the focus was on enjoyment and personal development,” said Chris Stone.
“Both sets of girls really loved the day and the first Area 6 University Development festival at Heath RUFC that followed, where Huddersfield University, York St John, Leeds University and Teeside University all took part.
“The progression achieved by all the players has been huge and to see that effort coming to fruition in a match situation was very rewarding, especially for Puy.”*
For more information please contact Puy on 07940 240 321 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Training is on a Monday evening at 7pm, meeting at the Student’s Union at 6.15pm before going to Lockwood Park.
*The Christian name translates in old French as ‘well’ and also as ‘volcano’, hence the famous Puy de Dome near another successful rugby centre, Clermont Auvergne.