Competition helps fuel growth of girls rugby
Players say rugby makes them "feel tough and powerful”
The day after International Women’s Day, the London Youth Games rugby event kicks off on 9th March in Barn Elms in Barnes, London.
160 girls aged 10-14 competed in the ‘XRugby’ and ‘Touch Union’ versions of the sport. The ‘Touch Union’ game gives the younger age group the chance to develop confidence in their rugby skills, such as throwing and catching, without the full contact nature of the sport.
Short 10 minute games against boroughs across London empowered the girls, gave them a space to develop their confidence and boosted their self-belief.
Joanna, Barking and Dagenham rugby player, said: “When I first got to secondary school, I didn’t want to play rugby, I thought it was too rough. But now I play, I love it. It makes me feel strong and makes me feel tough and powerful.”
Sumaya, Barnet rugby player, said: “It makes me feel empowered and it’s encouraging for me because it makes me feel more confident to be around people.”
Claire Bond, Barking and Dagenham’s Team Manager said: “It’s great, some of the girls have really come out of their shell this year. Some of the wingers especially don’t say a word, but on the pitch they’ve a completely different person, like their inner beast comes out which is really nice. I love the fact that rugby is something for everyone, no matter what size you are and no matter what you look like.”
Female rugby is going through an exciting period of growth. Major brands like TikTok are investing in the Women’s Six Nations and the Women’s World Cup Final broke a world record for attendance at a women’s rugby match.
Maggie Alphonsi, who played a key role in England winning seven successive Six Nations wins and the 2014 World Cup, began her stellar rugby career representing Enfield at the London Youth Games.
The competition today will help develop even more extraordinary females, on and off the pitch.