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Home > News > Softly, softly approach woos NW Women
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Your News Softly, softly approach woos NW Women

THE extraordinary calibre of skill and athleticism displayed during the recent Womens Rugby World Cup has proved to be a perfectly-timed advert for the womens game, especially as a new batch of girls are putting their toe in the water at clubs and universities in the North West as another season gets into full swing.

Given the anticipated increase in the numbers of girls wanting to try the game, attention has focused on the introductory process, with a programme at Preston in the North West leading the way as a model of good practice.

In the past, the initiation process has been an issue. While some relished the physicality from the outset, others found the learning curve too steep, a factor which has influenced the organisation of this seasons competitive structure and provided an opportunity for newcomers to be introduced to the game at a measured and safe pace

Existing players and new recruits at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) have benefitted from a three-week programme organised by RFU Community Rugby Coach for Preston Kai Burns with help from Preston Grasshoppers prop Mark Irving.

The three sessions embraced a gradual introduction to the various elements of the game, with good technique and safety the key components as the students progressed through the basics of tackling, receiving contact and ball presentation through to rucking and practices focussing on body positions and player roles around the ruck.

The girls were then joined by the womens team from neighbours University of Cumbria (Lancaster), who had been participating in similar introductory sessions, for a joint training session and practice game.

The programme has been very well received by all involved and coupled with the usual Monday evening club training sessions, the team should be far better prepared to start the league season. said Kai. Proof of the success of the three-week lead-in strategy has been the much higher numbers of students who have put their names down for rugby at freshers evenings and followed up by joining the club.

We had about 20 new girls who have paid their subs and are among the squad of around 30 who are turning up for coaching each week. I think the Cumbria Uni squad also contained a much higher proportion of new girls, which is a further endorsement of the new approach.

His sentiments were echoed by UCLAN captain Jess Lane who said: The sessions have been great, especially for the new girls who seemed to have picked things up a lot quicker than last year.

We have also managed to keep hold of a lot more of the new players this year which I think could be due to the fact they have not been thrown straight into fixtures and feel themselves a lot better prepared.

North West Rugby Development Manager Dave Southern is pleased with the way the new lead-in process has unfolded.

We thought that new students going in at the deep end and playing with only the briefest experience was not the best way to proceed and suggested that we have a period in which newcomers can learn the rudiments of the game, he said: This has proved very successful, not only in Preston, but also in Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire, where we have other womens rugby sessions up and running.

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