- Berkshire and Oxfordshire clubs play in Twickenham curtain raiser
- Girls rugby going from strength to strength
Photo: RFU Archive
Girls from four rugby clubs in Berkshire and Oxfordshire had the amazing opportunity to play on the Twickenham turf last Saturday when they took part in the curtain-raiser to England against Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations.
The girls from Reading, Newbury, Wallingford, and Gosford All Blacks, who were joined by girls from two Middlesex clubs, Teddington and Grasshoppers, were excited to showcase their skills, before settling down to watch England’s win over Ireland.
Said one of the young players thrilled to be part of the occasion: “We all really love the team spirit and closeness that rugby gives us. It’s really fun. I’m from a rugby family and I just haven’t been able to stop myself showing off to my brother, who’s never played at Twickenham!”
Growing the game of rugby for women and girls is top of the agenda for the RFU. Their Growth Strategy for Women and Girls sees the Union set to work with 200 grassroots clubs over the next four years, improving opportunities for female players.
The women’s game, now completely integrated into the RFU, has seen steady growth and the ambition is to get 10,000 more females into contact rugby by 2017. An unprecedented £1m will be invested in this during the next four years.
RFU Women’s Rugby Development Officers have chosen 54 clubs nationwide who will work intensively with the Union in this first year of the campaign.
These clubs all work together to give their girls more opportunities to play, as Wallingford Coach, Mark Peris agrees: “This allows small groups to come together giving stronger numbers for training and opens up a network of contacts in girls' rugby.”
The RFU’s Community Rugby Coaches are also working in schools across the country to introduce rugby to girls and expect to see more schools than ever taking part in the National Girls Schools Competition this year.
The international action continues when England Women take on Wales on Friday, March 7 at the Twickenham Stoop, kick-off 7:30pm, live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk (0844 847 2492) and www.quins.co.uk (0208 410 6000).