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Supporting female rugby players

by - 24/03/2023 in Community Twitter logo icon link Facebook logo icon link LinkedIn logo icon link

Wolverhampton ladies rugby team - charter savings bank

The Six Nations competition has stirred up an atmosphere of support for women’s rugby, so we thought now would be the perfect time to catch up with Jennifer McIntosh, captain of the women’s team at Wolverhampton Rugby Club, who’re sponsored by Charter Savings Bank, to hear her insights into the world of rugby.

We explored how successful she thinks the England women’s team, the Red Roses, might be at the Six Nations and what her experience of rugby has been as a female player.

Q: Can you tell us how and when you first became interested in rugby?

A: I first became interested in rugby when I was at university. I went to watch a few Scotland international games and the interest grew from there.

Q: Why did you join Wolverhampton rugby team in particular, and what is it you enjoy most about playing for the team?

A: I went to a few training sessions and everyone there was so friendly that I stuck with it and I’ve been playing here ever since. I started playing rugby eight years ago, and now it’s evolved to be more welcoming to women; the equality between the teams has improved. I think it’s more important than perhaps it used to be, to have that community element coming out of the pandemic. Folk were not used to socialising, and to have a local sports club that they can go down to and get some exercise, see some friends - I think it’s just a great atmosphere to have on your doorstep.

Q: Do you find being the captain of your team is more stressful or enjoyable?

A: As captain there are some additional responsibilities and stresses but I find training and just having a laugh with the team is enough to forget all of that. The ladies on the team are why I play and agreed to be the captain. You enjoy the sport and time with your friends and that’s the stress relief that I get from rugby every week.

Q: How do you create a supportive atmosphere and a sense of camaraderie on the team?

A: To create a sense of camaraderie on the team, we have socials every now and again where we come down to the club or go out and spend time away from playing and have a laugh. We watch the games on a Saturday when the men are playing and we support each other. We have a group chat, if someone’s having a bad day they’ll tell us and we’ll try and cheer them up.

Q: Do you think people have any stereotypes about women playing rugby, and do you think it’s important to challenge these stereotypes?

A: There are absolutely stereotypes to being a female rugby player. I think the first question a lot of women get is ‘oh, are you gay then?’ and those stereotypes have to be broken. This game is for everyone, that’s what makes it so great. It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is, what your size is, where you come from, if you enjoy playing rugby then you’re welcome.

Q: Do you feel respected as a rugby player?

A: Rugby is a very respectful game. The fundamental morals of the sport are TREDS, which stands for teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. Everyone’s welcome, it’s a family sport.

Jen from wolverhampton ladies rugby charter savings bank

Q: Have you seen any progress for women in rugby?

A: Things are definitely improving and there have been good steps towards more equality in the club. A large part of that is down to the Red Roses and their success. There are now more women and girls playing rugby than ever before. Clubs are getting rewarded for investing in their women’s teams. And, seeing the Red Roses get to the final of a world cup - it’s fantastic. They’re breaking records every time they play now, so it’s a great time to be involved in the sport.

Q: Do you think the Red Roses have a chance of winning the Six Nations?

A: After the success of winning the world cup last year, I think the Red Roses are in with a very good chance of winning the Six Nations.

Q: What do you think female players bring to the game that sets them apart from male players?

A: Perhaps a bit more of a family atmosphere. If you’ve gone to a Red Roses game in the last couple of years you’ll have experienced the family atmosphere at those games. There are kids of all ages there, adults of all ages there, and it’s the same at your local rugby club. We play on a Sunday after the mini and junior games, so quite a few of the kids hang around. It’s a very friendly atmosphere and makes for a far more enjoyable day.

Q: How can we support females playing rugby?

A: The success of the Red Roses at the world cup has definitely helped but we need more investment in the clubs, we need to advertise, the opportunity is there. We need to get into schools, get into the communities and get people down to their local rugby clubs. Without the players we can’t play the game.

Q: Looking back on your career, what advice would you give to women starting out in rugby?

A: To any women considering playing rugby, I would say just do it. Turn up and give it a go, whether you do it for fun, exercise or to satisfy a competitive drive in you, you’ll enjoy it. You’ll meet people that you’d never have met normally, make friends and learn a fantastic sport.

Q: And finally, what’s your greatest sporting achievement to date?

A: It has to be my one and only try, which I scored when I was slightly hungover. We were playing Cannock, who have a lot of my friends on their team, so it was definitely my greatest achievement!

Rugby is known for being a tough, competitive sport but players can also find a supportive atmosphere, a sense of community and friendship. This is fundamental to encourage females to start playing rugby and develop their talent, helping to achieve an overall progression of the sport.

We’re proud to sponsor the women’s team at Wolverhampton Rugby Club and wish the Red Roses well in the Six Nations.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Your eligible deposits held by a UK establishment of Charter Savings Bank are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the UK’s deposit protection scheme. Any deposits you hold above the limit are unlikely to be covered. Please click here for further information or visit www.fscs.org.uk.