Looking for a different way to get fit? Ladies, meet the Slingbacks.
What: Women’s rugby has been played in the UK since the mid 80’s although it is still receives little coverage in mainstream media. In 2011 England won their autumn series against world cup holders New Zealand 2-0, having lost narrowly to them in the World Cup final in 2010.
Although the youth game in England is growing rapidly, many women still don’t take the game up until university or beyond, ensuring a warm welcome to newbies of any age. The Slingbacks, Rosslyn Park Ladies rugby team has been going since 1997. They play a good standard of rugby, but are also a very sociable side, having as much fun off the pitch as on it.
The Rundown: Training will teach you the skills you need so you can execute them safely and accurately, but there’s nothing like playing to learn the game. The basic principle is ‘run forwards, pass backwards’. If you can master that all the rest will slot into place.
Is it the right fit for you? If you like a challenge and opportunities to test yourself but also like being part of a team, women’s rugby is definitely for you. In rugby union, there really is a space for everyone — big or small, fast or strong. It is the combination of everyone’s strengths and talents that makes the team. Great teamwork on the pitch also leads to great camaraderie off the pitch. Be prepared to get stuck in, enthusiasm gets you a long way. You also need to be prepared to get muddy!
Where and when: The Slingbacks train every Wednesday evening 7.30-9pm at their club Rosslyn Park, in Barnes (19 mins on train from Waterloo). Everyone is welcome to come and give it a go, even if you’ve never touched a rugby ball before. They play matches most Sundays in and around London and the South East. The season runs from September - April and we have a packed calendar of league and friendly matches.
They also have a lot of fun off the field with regular socials, an annual beer festival, rugby tour and 7s competitions over the summer. It is also the Slingbacks' 15th Anniversary year this year, and there is a spectacular party planned for March to celebrate.
Get in touch via the Slingbacks' website.
Words and picture by Camilla Brueton
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