Wasps support Old Leamingtonians aim to attract more women to rugby
Wasps have thrown their support behind a Leamington rugby club’s aim to attract more women to the sport.
Wasps players Tom Willis and Gaby Oghre have visited a ‘Warrior Camp’ at Old Leamingtonians Rugby Club as part of their preparations for England Under-20s’ upcoming Six Nations campaign, which concludes with England facing Ireland at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, March 16 (8pm kick-off) after England Women tackle Ireland Women beforehand (5pm kick-off).
The ‘Warrior Camp’ is a Rugby Football Union (RFU) initiative that Old Leamingtonians have adopted where taster rugby sessions are laid on for women wanting to try out the sport, with view to them joining a local club.
A group of 24 women turned out at the club’s Bericote Road home to join in with tag rugby sessions with Tom Willis and Gaby Oghre providing an added boost to Old Leamingtonians Ladies coaches Gemma Lewis, Charlie Graham and Lois Moulding.
Gemma, who has been coaching Old Leamingtonians Ladies’ team for 15 years, said: “When we held a ‘Warrior Camp’ last year we gained around half a team from staging one of the events, and we’ve had a positive response this time round too.
“The ladies senior team is doing well this season with a core group of 25 players aged between 18 and 40 years of age, but the injuries mount up and we are in need of as much help as we can get.
“It was fantastic to see so many new faces take to the grass, including a surprise visit from Tom and Gaby who joined in with the players and offered their encouragement.
“The recent women’s World Cup has helped to put the womens game back into the spotlight, and the womens Six Nations coming to the Ricoh Arena can only help to boost this further at a local level.
“Hopefully from here on in we will start to see some more regular faces turn up to help us consolidate in Championship Midlands 2 this season – we train every Monday and Wednesday at 7.30pm.”
Gaby Oghre gives some coaching during the session at Old Leamingtonians
Wasps and England Under 20 forward Gaby Oghre also had words of encouragement for those wanting to take up rugby.
He added: “I actually started playing rugby quite late when I was 15-years-old and opted for rugby over other sports because of the tight-knit atmosphere you get when playing.
“Making the adjustment to the sport can be uncomfortable at first, but the key is to stick at it because there are so many rewards that come with it, particularly with the close friendships that you make and support that you get.
“A perfect example is the ‘Warrior Camp’ we have been at – the atmosphere was fun and lively, and you wouldn’t have thought a lot of them were strangers playing together for the first time.”
Tickets for the Six Nations double-header between England and Ireland at the Ricoh Arena are just £10 for adults for both games, and can be purchased from www.eticketing.co.uk/ricoharena
For more information about joining Old Leamingtonians Ladies, email firstname.lastname@example.org