The Tab tries: Women’s Rugby
2, 4, 6, 8. Gals are gonna dominate.
Ever wondered what it's like to play rugby? Think it's a "man's sport"? Didn't even know women's rugby existed in Cambridge? Well, The Tab has delved deep into the scrum, infiltrated that line-out, and dived into tackles to bring you the real tale of Cambridge women's rugby. You're welcome.
Picture me: wide-eyed and excited in fresher's week, having never played any form of sport before (besides a reluctant PE lesson here and there). I was that person that avoided team sports like the plague for fear of being the weak link, had phases of going to the gym that never lasted too long, and got all of my exercise from killing it on the club dancefloor. Now picture this girl playing contact rugby. The image of blood strewn across the pitch, missing limbs, and misshapen bodyparts is what I held in my mind as I attended my first training session, wondering how on earth I'd let myself be talked into this. But I'm not dead yet; in fact I've hardly been injured at all. Rugby played well is not as dangerous as it looks.
Throughout my experience, moving from college rugby to the University seconds', the biggest thing to emphasise is the importance of a team. I have never met a bunch of more supportive and encouraging women. There have been many, many times when I have dropped the ball (pardon the pun). Bar the most basic of rugby rules (run forwards, pass backwards), I had no idea how the game worked. Lol what even is a maul, amirite?
But I have not been afraid to ask. Nobody laughed at me. And I've gone from being a total beginner with absolutely zero skills, to a forward for the CURUFC Tigers in the space of two terms. In fact, it would be weird if there wasn't a good team spirit with the amount of contact we have: I'm talking tackles where you throw yourselves onto one another, I'm talking scrums where you have your face right next to each others' bums; I'm talking communal showers; I'm talking c o n t a c t.
What about socials, I hear you ask? Rugby lads are renowned for their rowdy drunken antics. The women are no different. Yes, the 'players of the match' must down a pint after every game. Yes, the coach journeys from away games often involve inebriation in all its glory. Yes, there is an ever-growing fine sheet. The best social I've been to involved tiger fancy dress, a game I like to call 'ring of fire on crack', a dirty pint of wine/beer/port/gin/vodka/prosecco/sourz, and (most tragically) Dangerspoons. In order to go hard on the pitch, you have to go hard in all other aspects of your life…right?
Now for the big one: Varsity. I have the privilege of saying 'I have never seen Oxford score a try' – though who has? In both the blues match at Twickenham in December, and the seconds' match at the end of this term, we obliterated Oxford. Covered in mud, on a dark and rainy evening, we took back the trophy. Our supporters were fewer than Oxford's, but we screamed louder. Even though I was on the bench and only played for the final 10 minutes, this was one of my best evenings in Cambridge – the purest way to channel the GDBO ethos is to tackle Oxford girls to the ground.
Women's rugby is empowering, exhilarating, and entertaining (whether you spectate or play). Anyone – female, male, or non-binary – should consider strarting if they want to release some pent-up Cambridge stress or aggression (you get to knock people over with no repercussions!!!!), get fit, or just meet some cool people. Going to the development days in Michaelmas was one of the best decisions I've ever made. A 10/10 from me.