Meet the KCL women’s rugby team aiming for victory in tonight’s Varsity

UCL’s reign is a thing of the past


Although the men’s rugby is the traditional finale of Varsity, Friday’s showdown starts with the women. UCL have history on their side, with nine consecutive varsity wins, but history is a thing of the past and KCL Women’s Rugby team are raring to go.

These are the girls who march into your seminars sporting black eyes and slight limps. The girls who dominate Walkabout podiums in all manners of fancy dress and the girls who have, all season, been coming out on top.

They’re smashing stereotypes of rugby as a “man’s sport”, having doubled their membership since 2012, and are simultaneously smashing all their opposition; topping both the BUCS and LUSL league. UCL may think their Varsity streak is unbeatable, but having already beaten them this year, KCL undoubtedly has the upper hand.

Following one of their epic wins we asked some of the team about their favourite rugby moments and why you should join them both at Friday’s Varsity match and next year. They are fun, ferocious and deserve your drunken cheers just as much as the men. After all, who does the hunting in a pride of lions? The Lionesses!

Ana Matorras Gutiérrez de Terán, Third Year Philosophy

Position: Inside centre, back row in my soul

Nickname: Anagul el Capitano

Season highlight: When a ref called me Sir.

Most embarrassing moment: Probably during one of the first games of the season, getting upset because no one would give me a tissue to stop my nosebleed and I didn’t want to leave the pitch.

Proudest moment: Yet to come – having the privilege to captain this amazing bunch on Friday to fight for our so longed Varsity victory.

Fave part: I love how fast freshers become as much a part of the team as everyone else, and also seeing how much we improve as a team when we’re committed and we put our minds to it.

Spirit animal: Barney the dinosaur, we must have been twins separated at birth.

Describe Another Teammate: Becky Stark – big tackles, pink socks

Claire Marconi, Third Year Business Management

Position: Fly-half

Nickname: Prez the Cucumber

Favourite part of rugby: The amazing team spirit.

Most embarrassing moment: Suitcase (my trusty teammates will understand…)

Most vicious rugby moment: Torn a girl’s neck and dislocated one of her vertebrae when she tried to tackle me

Describe Another Player: Ana Matorras – great scottish accent

Emma Hassard, Second Year History

Position: Second row/back row/winger/ full back/ Jack of all Trades

Season Highlight: Scoring against UCL

Why did you join women’s rugby? After match pints!

Favourite Walkabout Wednesday Costume: Baywatch

Most Vicious Moment: Pushing people over in Touch.

Describe Another Player: Claire Marconi (President) – Crazy French Dictator

Sara Abbasi, Third Year War Studies

Position: Flanker

Nickname: Sabbasii (Queen of Instagram)

Why did you join women’s rugby? Having never been given the opportunity to play rugby in my previous schools I thought university was the perfect time to try something completely new.

Worst Injury: Torn ACL

Most Embarrassing Moment: First year, smurf night…

Describe Another Player: Emma P (Treasurer) – Little Feisty Italian

Why should more women play rugby? You unfortunately hear the phrase that rugby is a “man’s game” and not for girls too often. But why should we not play rugby? We’re in the 21st century and there shouldn’t be such a binary division in who should and can play certain sports. Not only is it a form of physical exercise but it also teaches a number of crucial life values such as passion, respect, determination, teamwork and perseverance. It also embraces women of all shapes and sizes and celebrates each and everyone positively. (Rant over).

Becky Stark, Third Year Adult Nurse

Position: Wing

Season highlight: Smashing Imperial away and just generally having a really fun game

Go to hangover food: Bacon and anything with chocolate (Bacon dipped in chocolate?)

Why should more women join rugby? It’s fun and a great way to meet some amazing people. It also helps to show you how strong physically and mentally you are and how much you can push yourself when you want to.

Fave part: Bonding as a team and going on nights out and TOUR.

Liz Osborne, Who knows?

Position: Flanker

Season Highlight: The whole season has been a bit of a highlight reel really, being unbeaten in both BUCS and LUSL feels great.

Proudest Moment: Downing a pint in under a minute

Most Embarrassing Moment: Pub golf and related incidences.

Why should more women play rugby: Rugby is great sport. There’s elements of everything you could want: strength, speed, footwork and handling. Also the culture within rugby is second to none, very supportive of all abilities, a real team atmosphere.

Worst injury: I broke a nail once? Honestly most of my injuries come from post rugby affairs…

Spirit animal: That panda in China that faked being pregnant to get better food and air conditioning.

Helen Kahone, Post Grad Final Year Adult Nursing

Nickname: Hells

Position: Second row/ Prop/ No. 8

Why did you join women’s rugby? Watching England win the world cup in 2003 was pretty inspiring. Shortly after I saw a poster for my local rugby team recruiting both boys and GIRLS and I thought why not?

Why should more women should join rugby? Sooooo many reasons! It’s one of the best ways to get fit, you gain so many friends, tackling is such good stress relief, scoring a try is one of the best feelings and it defies many of the sterotypes that society place upon women, which is quite liberating.

Proudest moment: I captained a team against Canada U18’s many years ago. I was playing for Berkshire, so the game was fairly one sided. But standing opposite a team singing their national anthem, and playing against the future of Canadian rugby felt pretty awesome.

Spirit Animal: Maybe a Bison. Bison temperament is often unpredictable. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. They can move at speeds up to 35 mph (56 km/h) and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop (Wikipedia 2015). (UCL be warned.)

Most vicious rugby moment: I’ve broken a few noses, arms and legs, but nothing was intentional!

Describe Another Player: Liz Osbourne: co-dependant, unconventional and agile.

Jess Sparey, Second Year English with Film

Nickname: Phil

Position: Second Row

Why did you join women’s rugby?: I joined rugby because it was something I’d never played before and heard the team atmosphere was great

Fave Part: My favourite part of rugby is that it is a team sport, everyone player has an impact on how well you perform as a team so when you’ve made a great tackle, run, try or kick you’ve helped the team.

Most Vicious Moment: Someone twisted my nipple in a ruck. (Out for revenge!)

Why should more women play rugby? I think more women should join rugby because it is an empowering sport where you’ll meet your best mates and challenge yourself every training or game. There is no reason for rugby to be associated with being a sport for men, any committed and enthusiastic woman can enjoy and play the game.

Emma Pravisano Vasilicó, Third Year War Studies

Nickname: Pmma

Position: Wing

Fave Part: Half an hour before a big game, I love the pressure and adrenaline of it.

Proudest Moment: Being selected for Varsity 2015 despite only starting rugby six months before.

Most Embarrassing Moment: Losing odds on tour and giving Claire a birthday lap dance to the French national anthem.

Most Vicious Moment: I punched a girl after she bit me in a ruck.

Describe Another Player: Sara Abbasi – White Girl Wasted

Lauren Battersby, Second Year Political Economy

Nickname: Tinderella/ Mrs Bean

Position: Second Row

Worst injury: breaking my pinkie in my first game of the season.

Most embarrassing moment: Getting a black eye at waterfront because I ran into a wall, I was being chased with a sharpie though!

Proudest moment: Playing touch with England legend Jason Robinson and scoring a ‘try’ against him

Go to hangover food: Croissants

There you have it. They’ve scored against Jason Robinson, captained against Canada’s national team, and they are beyond ready for Varsity a.k.a. the UCL takedown.

Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the London Varsity Series 2016 at Allianz Park, doors opening at 16:30 and the ladies kicking off at 17:30.