Wasps Ladies star looks forward to England's Ricoh Arena visit
A 27-year-old Birmingham woman who didn’t take up rugby until her final year at university is set to return to the West Midlands to represent England during this year’s Six Nations.
Justine Lucas, whose interest in rugby was sparked at Loughborough University in 2010, already has 30 caps for the red roses.
And the Birmingham native, who recently has been part of her country’s wins over Italy and Wales, is hoping to add to her tally of caps when England host Ireland at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Friday March 16 at 5.30pm.
It wasn’t until her final year of studying for a Sports Science and Maths degree at Loughborough University in 2010 that Justine decided to give rugby a go, and by the summer of 2013 she was representing England against Canada.
A whirlwind spell saw Justine named as Loughborough’s players’ player-of-the-year in 2011, before joining Premiership side Lichfield where she was named best newcomer in 2012 and most improved player the following season.
The prop forward, who now plays for Wasps Ladies, last year featured in every match in England Women’s triumphant Six Nations campaign as well as being part of the squad that reached the World Cup final in Ireland.
Student support advisor Lucas has become a proud advocate of the women’s game, which is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. She also believes rugby provides plenty of useful life skills.
“I didn’t start playing rugby until I was 20-years-old, but was representing my country within two years and now have a Six Nations championship medal and a World Cup runners-up medial under my belt,” she said.
“So be it sport or business, my advice to all women out there is to keep working hard and keep the faith in what you’re trying to achieve during difficult times, because eventually the results will show.
“Within a rugby environment we are starting to break down a perception that women’s rugby isn’t as exciting as the men’s version. People are always surprised at the speed of the game, there isn’t as much kicking and we run the ball a lot more than the men.
“There’s a lot of rugby still to play before the final game at the Ricoh Arena and as a squad we are solely focused on the next game against Scotland.
“It’s fantastic that our final Six Nations game will be played in a new venue, at the Ricoh Arena and the home of Wasps. We have some of most dedicated and loyal supporters and I know that there will be a great atmosphere on the day.”
The women’s Six Nations clash between England and Ireland is followed at 8pm by the under 20’s men’s match between the same two countries.
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