I am Tam, originally from Devon in the UK but have been living in Australia for the last 8 years but have only got back into Rugby the last 2 – 3 years. I was president of the first women’s rugby team in Byron Bay Rugby Club’s 120 year history.
How Did You Get Introduced to Rugby?
Rugby was never a sport I was ever thinking of rejoining after school but I met the coach and some of the girls who started the small team at a friend’s birthday. It was actually a dare to see if I would join and attend a training session between my friendship group. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did but it’s oddly addictive!
How Did You Get Into Playing?
I went to the first group training session and loved it, I couldn’t wait for the next one. I committed from day one and had so much fun. Meeting other sporty girls like me (mostly internationals) but some Aussies too so it was a good mix.
As we were a new team and in a regional area without many other teams around, we had some friendly games but generally had to travel a few hours to other states to get games underway at first.
After our first year of training hard, some local news interviews and a little community spirit – we started spreading the word and local teams in the nearby zones contacted us. By our second year, we were involved in a full season of games, competing against 9 other teams in 2019.
What Are The Biggest Misconceptions About Women’s Rugby?
“You aren’t strong enough”. “This is a man’s sport”. This is unfortunately something we hear all too often. With the right leadership, training and support – Women have and will continue to show that we are more than capable to take this further and further and expand and grow this sport.
What Do You Love Most About Playing Rugby?
THE TEAM & CLUB!! I have never been a part of such a humble, powerful, committed group of strangers in my life.
In such a short space of time, this helped me develop new friendships and also for me personally, brought me and old friends together! Being a team, supporting each other, lifting each other up and having your teammates back each other – it’s such a special community.
At first, it was really hard to be taken seriously in such a male dominated sport and club. We had to work extremely hard to feel like we were ONE club and not divided by gender. We had to show we were there for the long run and were willing to put in the work to progress and make the club proud.
Byron Bay also hosts an international 7’s competition every year in October so the organisation and preparation for this was very rewarding and fun. Getting the community together, raising money for local charities, getting volunteers involved and bringing the town alive for this annual sporting event was pretty special. We had teams from all over the world join us (Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Singapore and all over Australia).
Why Do You Think Women’s Rugby Has Seen Such a Rise in Recent Years?
The sooner we see women and men as equal the better. Personally, the more women have persisted to show what we are capable of, the more we have been accepted into this mainly male dominated sport. We have made news headlines, shown enormous growth, progression and strength and it’s inspiring for the younger generations to come – to be brave and resilient.
Would You Recommend Playing Rugby Overseas to Other Women?
110% YES!!! This brings a whole new concept to working and living overseas. Your team becomes your family. You develop life long friendships, see everyone go through highs and lows but at the end of the day you are in it together. Injuries, hangovers, growth (personal and team), the wins, the losses, team building – the lot!