Women across the Lothians encouraged to take up rugby

Edinburgh's Liz Musgrave. Picture: SNS
Edinburgh's Liz Musgrave. Picture: SNS
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ROOKIE rugby players are being encouraged to tackle free taster sessions for women at clubs across the Lothians this summer.

Dalkeith, Liberton and Currie rugby clubs are three of 20 across the country to sign up to Scottish Rugby’s #BeTheBestYou campaign.

The drive to recruit more players comes as the Women’s Rugby World Cup kicks off in Ireland today – a tournament Scotland failed to qualify for.

“The first round of #BeTheBestYou taster sessions were a success with beginners trying rugby for the first time and loving it,” said Sheila Begbie, Head of Women’s and Girl’s Rugby at Scottish Rugby.

“It’s great to see clubs backing our initiative, which highlights the positive benefits of playing rugby to women and girls.

“Step outside of your comfort zone and get along to a club this summer – you won’t regret it.”

Scottish Rugby launched the campaign earlier this year with taster sessions at rugby clubs across the country.

Organisers hope to build on those with clubs hosting three to four sessions over the next two months for beginners.

Any players wishing to take up the sport following their introduction will be able to join a team ahead of next season.

Women’s and girls’ rugby is growing in Scotland with the number of teams increasing from 192 to 214 in the past year.

At the elite level, Scotland secured its first Women’s Six Nations wins since 2010 this season and Jade Konkel became Scotland’s first professional player.

But there was disappointment too in missing out on this month’s flagship World Cup with a 25-15 aggregate playoff loss to Spain last November.

Scotland Women were beaten 10-5 at Scotstoun before going down 15-10 in the return leg in Madrid.

Scottish Rugby bosses hope to raise the profile of the game and ultimately get more women playing.

New players will have the chance to develop their skills at tailored sessions focussing on the enjoyment and social side as much as the sporting and personal development aspects.

Coaches are keen to stress the sessions are open to women of all ages, body sizes and experience.

The slots at Currie rugby club take place every Tuesday in August, while classes at Dalkeith and Liberton start on August 12.

Craig Young from Liberton rugby club said: “We want to change perceptions about women’s rugby and capitalise on its growing popularity across Scotland to get more people playing at our club. Rugby really is everyone’s game.

“Trying rugby is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Whatever your skill level, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

“There’s nothing quite like the rugby community. It’s a fantastic way to get fit and try something new. You’ll also make friends for life.”

To find out where you can take part in a #BeTheBestYou taster session, visit www.scottishrugby.org/bestyou.

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com