Harlequins Ladies’ hooker Davinia Catlin hailed the change in provisions that has allowed the women’s game to blossom in recent years.
Junior club rugby for girls is growing in this country, but from a place of very little opportunities, and Harlequins and the Rainbow Laces campaign are at the forefront of making this change.
Catlin grew up during a time when it was difficult to play the game as a young girl, but she is seeing the change first hand.
She said: “I went to boarding school in Guildford and, so my dad had to drive an hour from Wallington to pick me up and drive an hour and a half to Wasps where I was playing at the time, and then drop me back to school and then go back home himself.
“Without my parents I wouldn’t have been able to do it, but it was very difficult to find clubs at the time.
“The provisions of clubs have improved greatly you don’t have to travel as far but you still have to travel if you want to play in the top leagues.”
She spoke with a lot of admiration for her fellow players who still have to travel a long way to get to training, but it is a price worth paying for them all.
A lot of her teammates travel up to two hours for training, despite still being in full time employment – the part of the equation which causes the most issues.
She said: “Balancing a job and playing is a challenge in itself.
“I have always been in full time employment so it’s difficult, especially when you are working in the city and you have to work your overtime and you need to fit in your training.
“You need to wake up earlier and have to go to bed later because you are constantly trying to make ends meet and pay a mortgage.”
With increased exposure, the women’s game will be able to pay its players enough money to live off, which would eliminate this problem.
Harlequins play Saracens on the 3rd December at The Stoop, and with both teams unbeaten so far this season and only separated by a solitary bonus point, there has never been a better advert for the domestic game.
Catlin is relishing the game, as is the whole of the women’s game, and she believes it will be the most physical game of the season.
She said: “It’s always pretty intense as it’s a London derby. But they have got a quality back row and a quality 10 so we know we are going to need to take care of them.
“And play smart rugby because whoever plays the smartest rugby with the best defence is going win on the day.”
When questioned on whether this winning team would be her Quins ladies, there was no doubt in her mind on who would come out on top.
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