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• Played for Newcastle University Women’s Rugby First Team
• Played and coached for Oakmedians RFC Girls Team
• Played for Dorset & Wilts County Team
• Captained Poole rugby club
• Currently works as a rugby journalist
Stella is a grassroots rugby player and was recently captain at Poole Rugby Club. She knows the game well, as she currently works as a rugby journalist, covering all aspects of the women’s game.
What is your why? Why do you play rugby?
I love the physicality of the sport. For me, nothing makes me happier than to turn up to a Wednesday afternoon training session to be told that we are doing full contact. There is something so powerful about being able to take a hard hit and get back up from it. I also find that wherever I go with the sport, I am bound to make great friends along the way.
How did you start playing rugby?
I actually started playing when I was around 13, at school. I distinctively remember a rugby coach called Gordon turning up at my school and telling me to run full speed into a tackle bag. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I did it and immediately sprung to my feet with an unconditional love for rugby.I got invited to train at a local rugby club with Gordon, and the rest is history!
What made you fall in love with the sport?
I love the camaraderie you get from playing rugby. Rugby bonds people in a way that I am yet to see in other sports. With every tackle, scrum, ruck and maul you are literally putting your body on the line for the team. You just don’t get that kind of commitment with other sports.What are some of the challenges that women’s rugby faces?I could sit here for hours and talk about this one, so I will keep it brief. Rugby is really good at speaking to rugby fans, but not so good at speaking to the common viewer, or rather, in my opinion, people who are yet to find out they are rugby fans.
To grow the game (and that phrase gets bounded about a fair amount I know) we must ensure that we find new and interesting ways to reach those who know nothing about the sport. This is especially important with rugby as sometimes the rules can be complex to understand at first. If we find a way to package up the women’s sport as an accessible yet entertaining one, we could be onto a real winner!
1. What’s your middle name?
2. What position do you play? Have you played others as well or before?
So, I used to play prop but now I am in the (long) process of moving to eight!
3. Do you have a lucky game day hairstyle or item of clothing or tape with words- any game day turnout rituals
Most people have a favourite meal, but honestly, I am too nervous to eat on a game day morning. I do however listen to the song ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’ before a match!
4. Favourite workout
I love a good leg day, nothing better than not being able to walk up a set of stairs the day after the gym.
5. How do you want to leave the jersey (and the sport) better for the next generation of female athletes?
I want to ensure that the generation that comes after me does not have to fight as hard as I did for the basic opportunities which are constantly afforded to our male counterparts. I find myself constantly having to justify my position on and off the pitch when it comes to women’s rugby, and I want my little girl to grow up in a world where she does not have to do that. I want her to be able to have access to all the facilities she needs to be able to excel in the sport, should she choose to play it.