Pitch Up & Play – Women’s Rugby Initiative

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If you still thought rugby was just a sport for men, think again. Participation in women’s rugby has doubled in the past 10 years and, of course, England Women are 15-a-side world champions. Keen to attract even more women to the game, Oxford University Rugby Football Club in partnership with England Rugby will be launching their new women and girls’ programme Pitch up and Play.

We are in the process of designing a schedule and will offer free sessions during Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, open to women of all abilities and we are very lucky to have enlisted 2 Women’s World Cup Winners as coaches in Rocky Clarke (103 International Caps) and Kat Merchant (58 international Caps) so you will be in safe hands. Women will be encouraged to play to their strengths whether they’re fast, agile, tall or strong, Pitch up and Play empowers women to unleash their inner toughness and unites all as Rugby Women.

The key focus is encouraging women into the sport with inclusive, enjoyable and informative sessions, whether they’re brand new to rugby, a sofa supporter or a returning player. With an introduction to tackling, Pitch up and Play also includes skills, fitness and match play. The sessions will build confidence and contact, fitness and femininity whilst providing a playing field for women and girls to discover what makes them strong. Players will also be able to select a ‘motivation band’ on arrival which helps them to shape the session depending on whether they are just looking fun, fancy some competition or want to focus on fitness. It’s a unique approach which aims to ensure that each person attending gets exactly what they want from a session.

Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Natasha Hunt, explains: “England Rugby are hoping to get 10,000 more women into the sport by 2017, so we’ve launched these friendly Pitch up and Play sessions and are calling upon women who might currently go to the gym, take part in obstacle course races or who perhaps want to become more active to give rugby a go, regardless of age, ability or previous experience. The sessions are completely free and provide a fantastic introduction to newcomers, so bring along a friend, family member or colleague to give rugby a try.”

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