Women’s rugby on the up across Hertfordshire

Tabard Ladies are riding a wave a popularity for rugby in Hertfordshire

Tabard Ladies are riding a wave a popularity for rugby in Hertfordshire - Credit: Archant

One of the more well-established ladies rugby clubs in Hertfordshire have said the game is on the rise – with last year’s Rugby World Cup a possible reason.

Tabard Ladies have had their struggles over the years but are currently enjoying a renaissance, with numbers steadily growing.

Now in its 11th season, the club has around 24 players, and regularly attracts between 12 and 15 to training.

And captain Laura-Jo Pearce says that is in part down to last year’s tournament, held in England.

She said: “It’s bizarre that most women’s teams have massively benefitted from that. I’m not sure most men’s teams have.

“The women won the World Cup the previous year which didn’t do as much for us because it wasn’t as much in the public eye.

“Women’s sport is growing and there’s more media focus on it but whether it was just luck that we all seemed to get more players in than the men, I don’t know.

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“Maybe they thought rugby was something different.

“Most women’s teams around are in better shape than they were two years ago.

“In June we’ll start a big recruitment push but I am still getting enquiries.

“Something out there is making women want to play rugby more than ever before.”

Tabard’s upturn in fortunes has seen them start to climb the leagues, with promotion a real possibility this year.

Pearce said: “We’ve kind of yo-yoed up and down the leagues. We lost a few players to better clubs because they were better players.

“We could win the league. We played a friendly the other week against a team two leagues higher and only lost 20-0.

“We definitely want to go up a league or two. We’ve got the potential to play higher if we can keep the players.

“And it would be nice to find a better level for the girls to play at. That’s what our two-year aim is.”

She says the squad, which ranges from 18 through to 50, displays the typical qualities of a rugby club, with camaraderie a much-valued attribute.

“Most of the girls just enjoy getting out on the pitch and I think we’ve got a good team spirit,” she said.

“We do a lot socially together.

“When the World Cup was on it was mostly the women who were down here watching the games.

“It will be the same with the Six Nations.”

And she added that anyone thinking of giving rugby a go, shouldn’t be put off by the physicality of the sport.

“A lot of women play longer probably because most don’t start until their 20s.

“It is a physical game but we’re equal sizes and the pressure we put on each other is no more than the men.”