Female Hubs around Wales are providing a fun formula for women and girls to gain positive rugby experiences.
The 32 community-based Hubs offer family-friendly rugby opportunities for girls aged 6 to 18, and in some cases rugby-based fitness activities for adult women.
Charlotte Wathan, WRU General Manager, Women and Girls, said, “It is our ambition to be a sport that is truly inclusive. We want to provide opportunities for all females to gain positive rugby experiences, both on and off the field, both throughout the education pathway and within the community.
“We want to be reflective of society and create a rugby culture that truly supports and sustains female rugby and females in rugby generally.
“Thousands of girls are already participating regularly in a variety of rugby formats within school, college and University, and we know there is growing demand from girls to have access to rugby both as part of the curriculum and within the range of extra-curriculum opportunities offered.
“We’ve also recognised the need to further increase the meaningful opportunities for women and girls to be part of the community rugby family – be it as players, coaches, referees or volunteers.
“Increased community participation in rugby via the Female Hubs has clear, positive health benefits for women and girls”, continued Wathan, “but even more encouraging is the social role the Hubs are developing – they are helping to build life-long friendships for the whole family.”
Jesters Hub lead Robbie Young said, “When we set up the Jesters five years ago, we thought we’d have a handful of girls and 40 turned up. It hasn’t stopped growing ever since. Fun is at the heart of everything we do. If it’s not fun, we don’t do it.”
Megan Wood and Emmi-Leigh Haddock are in the under 13 team. Megan said, “The Jesters means everything to me. I’ve made friends for life, it’s helped my fitness and I love the rugby too.”
Emmi added, “Megan encouraged me to give rugby a go so I joined the Jesters last season. I’ve made friends and being part of the Jesters has also given me so much more confidence and strength. I used to get picked on in school but if that happens now I stand up for myself.”
Parent and assistant team manager Non Byrne says the Jesters has brought her whole family closer together.
“The Jesters Hub plays a massive part in our community. The girls are learning new skills, having fun and developing new friendhsips – it’s priceless to see the smiles on their faces.
“It’s incredible to see how far my daughters have come on since being part of the Jesters family. They live for their Wednesday training sessions and Sunday festivals.
“They’ve made friends, my husband and I have also made new bonds and thanks to the Jesters, the whole family spends more time together. The Jesters has brought my family closer and I can never thank them enough.”
Find your nearest Hub here or via www.wru.wales/girlsrugby and take a friend along to see for yourselves.