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Girls have ball with town club when they try rugby at training sessions

YOUNG Felpham rugby player Daisy Evans wants to follow in the footsteps of an England star.


Daisy is among the female players who are enjoying their Sunday mornings at Bognor RFC.


The club are looking to encourage more girls to join in and Daisy, 11, is clear about the sport’s appeal – and the player she wants to be.


“I like playing sport and I watch a lot of rugby on TV,” she said. “I prefer playing against the boys because some of the girls can be soft.


“I like to get stuck into the tackles and I like mud as well.”


Daisy is a pupil at Downview Primary School in Felpham which Jess Breach attended a few years ago.


Jess grabbed the headlines in the world of female rugby last autumn when she scored 11 tries in her first two games for England.


“I would like to play for England like Jess does,” said Daisy, who plays as a winger. “I don’t worry about the tackles.”


Training sessions at the Hampshire Avenue club include warm-up exercises and practising with tackle bags and running.


Daisy is among the initial group of girls at the Hampshire Avenue club and is keen for other girls to take part as well.


“They should just have a go and see if they like it,” she said. “It’s a chance to get stuck in and be part of a team.”


Away from the rugby pitch, she is an elite level gymnast who trains five times a week. She also enjoys netball, swimming, football and running.


“I like sport because I can be active, go up against people and show what I can do,” she added.


Bognor RFC is looking for more girls like Daisy to go along on Sundays. Training usually takes place from 10am-midday but the club’s fixtures page should be checked for confirmation.


Doug Millen, from the club, said: “We are looking for girls to join our U13 side. Any girls in Year 8 or below or invited to come and join us.


“U13 girls rugby is designed for girls in school years 6, 7 and 8. Most girls are trying rugby for the first time – and quickly loving it – while we have a few girls coming through from the mixed minis games.”


“The U11 girls play 7-a-side contact games, which are suitable for beginners and experienced players. For those who are U13, they play 12-a-side rugby.


“Our qualified coaches work with all levels of ability to develop rugby skills, team building and a great social experience,” said Doug.


“Any girl who is a little bit older but still keen should still come along, Our links with local clubs’ girls teams means we will always find a place for any girl that comes to our club.


“RFU laws and regulations permit the playing down for some players and age will never be a problem.”


Another of the girl rugby players is ten-year-old Grace Callaway. Her love of the sport began when she attended a rugby camp and won the most improved newcomer award.


She said: “I like the tackles and I like getting muddy. I play all over the pitch but I like playing scrum-half.


“I like going into scrums and trying to get the ball out.”


Grace, a pupil at St Mary’s School in Climping, said the practice sessions were also good fun.


“We run as fast as we can and as hard as we can at the bags. That increases the speed at which we can run at the other players and tackle them to get the ball back.


“After we have played the matches, we look at the positives and the negatives and work on the negatives the next week,” she said.


Grace is also a keen gymnast and said both sports complemented each other. “Gymnastics is all about strength, speed and co-ordination and that applies to rugby as well,” she added.


The rugby sessions for girls are free for the first month and then £10 a month or £2.50 a week.


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