Rugby, a wealth of Opportunity

by Lulu Thornton

Both the men’s and women’s teams played in the millennium stadium last year and went on an international trip to China for a sevens competition. We caught up with Abbey Smith, one of the Women’s rugby players, who gave us the inside on all these great opportunities.

What was it like to play in the Millenium Stadium earlier this year for the Varsity Competition against Cardiff?

Playing in the principality was an experience like I’ve never had before. The whole run up to it including the travelling there, the match day lunch, getting to experience having our kit hung up in the changing rooms and performing a top class warm up really set the stage for the history making match! There was something special about being on the pitch and knowing that your fellow teammates were all giving 100%. The professionalism throughout the day and the fact that we smashed Cardiff made it a match like no other and one I will cherish forever!

How did the Opportunity to go To China come about?

Having never played 7’s before, I was overjoyed to be given the opportunity to play in a 7’s tournament in Leeds prior to China. We played amazingly and made it to the semi-finals. Having all gelled and performed so well, the same team was selected for China! I would recommend everyone to grab any opportunity they are given at uni with both hands and give it your best shot because you never know what it may lead to!

What was the best thing about going to China, was it a good learning experience?

The best thing about going to China for me was getting to experience the culture and the food! We were overwhelmed with the opening ceremony and the welcome dinner where we got a taste of Chinese customs and various dishes! Tremendous amounts of time and care were put into making and delivering our schedule and activities to ensure we had a time we’d never forget. We were treated like royalty and got to experience all the same things as the Chinese teams. I learnt a lot about the game of 7’s while I was out there from the Chinese women’s side we were playing and from our dedicated coaches and as a team we improved more than we could have imagined!

Siwan, your coach, recently starred in the Welsh Rugby Union Squad do you appreciate her experience in the game?

Having Siwan as our head coach has benefitted the team hugely in a number of ways. Siwan has many years of experience playing rugby and has impeccable knowledge of the game which makes her coaching sessions always valuable and specific. Having played for her country, we get a taste of the professionalism required which I believe motivates the girls to succeed in training and in matches. Finally, her passion and love for the game has inspired and rubbed off on every single one of us which in turn has helped Swansea Women’s rugby club grow from a small club that could barely field a team to one with two successful BUCS teams!


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