This LSBU Girl Can – Interview with the Women’s Rugby
This Girl Can is a campaign celebrating active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. The project, funded by The National Lottery and developed by Sport England, aims to help women overcome the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls from joining in.
To celebrate ‘This Girl Can’ week (20th-26th November 2017), iBank Media will be bringing you an exclusive series of interviews over the week from women in sports here at LSBSU.
Today we have the pleasure of interviewing committee members from the Women’s Rugby Team: Ffion Phillips (President), Adina Claire Reid (Treasurer), Fae Bellouere (Vice President and Secretary), Niamh Mitchell (Social Secretary), and Tallulah Bird (Welfare Officer)
How did you get into Rugby?
Ffion – My dad told me to join as I would make a good prop (The props are two of the eight ‘forwards’ in a team).
Adina – I joined because my mum told me not too!
Fae – Another team member was too scared to join by herself, I went to support her, and we both ended up joining!
Niamh – I played in secondary school. Our school said that it wasn’t very ladylike to play rugby however, I feel that there is no gender specific to rugby, just because it’s a contact sport it doesn’t mean that girls can’t play.
Tallulah – I was looking for a team sport to join – I choose rugby as I hadn’t done anything like it before and I wanted to push myself to do something different.
What position do you play?
Ffion – Tight Head Prop
Adina – Blind Side Flanker
Fae – Scrum Half
Niamh – Flanker
Tallulah – Winger
Who would you say is your main role model in sports?
Ffion – Gareth Thomas, he’s the first openly gay man to play rugby professionally and he’s represented Wales in both the rugby union and rugby league.
Adina – Niamh, my teammate, who’s here today.
Fae – I’d say Gareth Thomas too – he’s helped to break the ‘norms’ in rugby.
Niamh – Jonny Sexton. He’s the first rugby player that I followed when I was younger, and I’ve looked up to him from a young age.
Tallulah – I don’t think there’s a single player that I would say I look up to, however as a team definitely the Exeter Chiefs!
What problems or struggles have you had to overcome?
Ffion – The rumours about my sexuality. People ask me questions like ‘do you shower together?’ or ‘how many lesbians are on your team?’ – not all female rugby players are lesbians!
Adina – My friends and family don’t seem to take an interest in my rugby life: it’s not a sport they thought I’d be doing at university.
Fae – My mum asks what position I play and if I’m going to play the mascot (because I am very short and small).
Niamh – People telling me it’s not a sport for a girl to play. That’s just not true though.
Tallulah – I’m shorter and smaller than most rugby players so I become a target on the field in terms of contact. Also, my mum asks a lot of questions about my safety as I play contact sport – I always reply, “you wouldn’t be saying this to my brothers!”.
What has been your greatest achievement in your rugby playing career?
Ffion – Scoring my first try. I pushed six girls to get there and it was a legendary run!
Adina – Meeting this bunch here!
Fae – There was a time during our last season where five people tried to take me down and I kept running, I just kept going and I made it.
Niamh – Making loads of friends from outside of my course.
Tallulah – Persevering. Getting here and not quitting straight away. Playing matches that we didn’t win and continue.
Are there enough opportunities available for women who are interested in taking up rugby or for those interested in continuing with it after uni?
Ffion – In England yes, if you look in the right place. In Wales there’s none.
Adina – I feel that when you initially start out yes, but it’s hard to progress as there are fewer opportunities to develop.
Fae – Places are keen on getting women players but not big on supporting after – not the same as Men’s.
Niamh – Not in Birmingham, it became easier when I came to university but there are still struggles. There are clubs everywhere for boys but for women, that’s not the case.
Tallulah – I think once you get involved in University your opportunities increase, but if you didn’t it wouldn’t be as easily available.
Did you have any concerns about body image and confidence when playing a contact sport, have those concerns changed?
Ffion – When I first started for sure, I was worried that I couldn’t run quickly. After two and a half years of playing I say that “I’m fat and I’m owning it”!
Adina – At the first game I realised that different people had different sizes and were therefore suited to different roles – there are opportunities for everyone.
Fae – I thought that I was going to be a bit little, but there were others that were little too!
Niamh – At first definitely, but once you start playing matches you can see it’s a sport for all women.
Tallulah – Being on the shorter side I was a tad concerned, but when I started, I realised there’s a space for everyone.
Do you think that there is enough media coverage of the Rugby Women’s League?
All – No!! We’ve not seen any – I think every member would agree that there’s not even close to enough coverage.
Interested in joining the Women’s Rugby Team?
Time: 6pm – 7:30pm
Location: Old Alleynians Rugby Club
We welcome ladies of all ages and abilities to come along and take part in the team, if you are interested please contact:
Email: Ffion at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: LSBU Women’s Rugby
Twitter: LSBU Women’s Rugby
LSBSU Website: More information and membership
More articles on This LSBU Girl Can Week:
Keep in touch by using the hashtag #ThisLSBUGirlCan
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