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Ruth Laybourn


Key Facts

SquadDarlington Mowden Park Sharks
Height1.72m (5'8")
Weight65kg (10st 3lb)


Ruth came to the world of rugby rather late, largely because she is a talented all-round sportswoman. She has represented Yorkshire and the North of England in the long jump and the 300m hurdles at under-15s, under-17s and under 20s level. She has also captained the City of York women’s hockey first team from 2009 to 2011. In a 15-a-side-game she played a match first on the wing, before moving to full back and then outside centre before reverting to the wing once more. She had been spotted as a skilled rugby technician at the age of eight by Ian Hill who also nurtured her athletics prowess.

Ruth scored a hat-trick on debut against Spain in the European Cup in 2012 and soon afterwards she became the second highest try scorer in the IRB Women’s World Sevens Series in Dubai. She describes both tournaments as the best moments of her career to date.

Her heroes within the sport are Francois Pienaar – “an inspirational leader as well as a great player” – and Israel Dagg “for his pace and athleticism. She also said that Schalk Brits “has a phenomenal work ethic on the pitch.”

Ruth’s own work ethic is in evidence off the pitch, too. While a number of the England team are involved in sport in their jobs, Ruth is an Agricultural Ecologist for the Food and Environment Research Agency in York, this the ideal position for someone who has a BSc (Hons) in Ecology, Conservation and Environment at the University of York. She subsequently obtained a MRes in Ecology and Environment Management.

Ruth plays Premiership club rugby for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks and combines her work with an extensive training schedule that includes a combination of sessions before and after work, work which often takes her all around the country involving field surveys. She is committed to her sport, however. “You meet some really diverse people and I love the fact that it’s a very skilful game,” she said. Rugby’s gain is hurdles/hockey’s loss it would seem.

Last updated: November 11, 2013

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