Tackling the Upcoming Season with Saints WRFC  

Insights from the University of St Andrews Rugby Football Clubs women’s section as they look ahead to a promising new season, discussing what it’s like to play one of the world’s fastest growing sports

Interviews from Moa Komiya (President), Verity Kennett (1XV Captain), Ada Fathers (Publicity Officer) and Verity Powell (Social Secretary)

A New Season for the Saints

USTA Team Talk [Ada Fathers]
With the squad growing in size and strength annually, what are the aspirations for Saints WRFC this season? 

Moa: We have three main goals for this season – to win the league, maintain a similar member size as last year (hopefully increase) and introduce a 2XV team.

Verity K: With our new Director of Rugby, David Morris, we are looking forward to working more closely with the Touch Rugby and men’s sides of the club. We also want to play some more exciting, expansive rugby this season and we’re working really hard in and out of training sessions to step up our game.

 

For many students sports are an integral part of their university life, can you explain how you got into rugby and how it has contributed to your University experience at St Andrews? 

Moa: I had never played rugby before coming to university and so never expected to be President of the rugby club in my last year! I would really recommend coming to our training sessions to try out some rugby (we are always open to new players), and if you do come along then ask lots of questions and get involved. If you decide you want to play without the contact element, go join touch rugby – you’ll catch a lot of us there!

Verity P: For me, coming from a club at home, rugby has a sense of belonging that I haven’t found anywhere else. Due to the nature of such a physical team sport, the people commit to you as much as the game and I find it a sort of escapism from everything else.  Socially too, everyone is valued and included and if you join for the sport, you will probably stay for the friends.

 

What are you most looking forward to this season?  

Verity K: I’m looking forward to our first games against Glasgow and Herriot Watt as most of our current team haven’t faced them before. Also, our first cup game at Chichester – a very big away day!

The team in action! [Emma McKendrick-Hawke]
Rugby in the Wider Field

Currently there is a big push on women’s sport in the media, how do you think this is changing the women’s game and opportunities arising? Has this had an impact on USTA Rugby yet? 

Ada: In a broad sense any form of representation has a big impact. As they say, if you can see it, you can be it. In an USTA Rugby context, unlike many universities, we have shared social media with the men’s side of the club which gives us the unique opportunity to project women’s rugby as a part of the wider rugby product that the university offers. We see the impact of this in a lot of our recruitment, and it’s great to see incoming players with more age-grade experience each year. There’s also a huge push on social media, perhaps as TikTok sponsor the Women’s Six Nations, to spread the word of rugby to a wider audience, and it’s exciting to be a part of such a fast-growing sport – especially in a World Cup year.

 

In such a physical sport where strength is necessary, what is the approach to body image like? Do you think there is a stigma about the physicality of women’s rugby?  

Ada: Coming from other sports where your athletic ability is strongly, and quite negatively, associated with your physique, and where I felt that to be successful, I needed to be small and lean, it was refreshing to join rugby where the approach to body image is much healthier. Rugby is not merely trying to superficially present itself as inclusive, but rather different body types are at the core of the sport, and necessary for the different positions. I find the physicality of rugby really empowering and I now spend time fuelling and strengthening my body, rather than fighting against it, to become a better athlete.

Smiles all round, post match [Emma McKendrick-Hawke]
Excited to give it a *try*?

What are you looking for in prospective players? 

Verity K: A good rugby player is motivated, determined and a great team player – you can learn the skills but a good attitude is key.

 

USTA Rugby offers playing opportunities for everyone irrespective of your rugby experience. The women’s training times are Monday 20:30-22:00 and Friday 18:30-20:00 on the rubber crumb.   

Follow @ustarugby and @ustatouch on Instagram for more information!

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