Richmond Rugby is set to launch a girls youth rugby section with an inaugural free Pitch Up & Play afternoon for players of all abilities.
It will take place this Sunday, 14 November at the Richmond Athletic Ground.
The club, which was the first women’s rugby club in the world to field two teams, already runs a minis section, and there is hope that by creating a space for 11-18 year-olds to develop their skills and experience rugby, a through-route can be established from junior rugby to the Women’s 1st XV.
Tatum Gabriel, who plays as a number 8 for the Women’s 1st XV and will coach the new section, said: “I was 16 when I started playing, which felt quite old at the time, but it can be a late-blooming sport.
“Being part of a club like Richmond gives you a community feeling, and at the youth stage, as much as it’s about rugby, it’s also about having a safe place to come and express yourself.”
This season, a number of clubs local to Richmond with a girls youth section have shut the section down, and Gabriel hopes that with the foundation of the Richmond section, girls already interested in the sport can have a new place to call their rugby home.
Gabriel also places an emphasis on the positive impact being part of a rugby community could have on girls keen to take part in the youth section’s weekly Sunday sessions.
Gabriel added: “We’re lucky to be creating this positive environment where girls can come along and play, and have fun with their friends.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere in this sport without having had people that cared about me, and it’s really nice to be able to inspire the next generation of girls playing.”
Training for the youth section will field Under 13, Under 15, and Under 18 teams, starting on 21 November.
However this Sunday will be an opportunity for both established players and newcomers to take part in a number of rugby exercises and fun drills, and to meet members of the teams and coaching staff.
The Pitch Up & Play afternoon will kick off at 1pm, and afterwards, players and their families have the opportunity to attend Richmond Women’s versus Bath Ladies at 3pm.
The RFU Championship South sides are top-four rivals, with Bath Ladies starting off their season with four wins to put them second in the table.
Richmond Women are fourth, and the players are anticipating an interesting match-up.
Gabriel said: “For lack of a better word, a lot of clout comes with the Bath name, but we carry our own clout as well.
“They’re in a similar place in the table, and it’s going to be interesting to see what they bring to the match.
“In our previous games, it’s taken us a lot of grit and determination, right up until the final whistle, so our goal is to get ahead earlier.”
To confirm your interest in attending the free Pitch Up & Play afternoon, please contact Head of Community Dom Palacio: [email protected]
Photo credit: Dante K Photography and Ollie Tycer Photography