Beth Allen, Marketing and Promotions Assistant for Swansea Student Events and a rugby player herself, meets the Swansea Women’s Rugby team to chat about their own experiences with Varsity.
Meet Rhian Perry, and Natasha Higgs… fierce on the field and crucial members of the team. Rhian is a Physical Geography student from Solva playing in her third Varsity, and Tasha is a History Student from Bristol competing for a second time.
Name: Tasha Higgs
Position: Flanker/Loosehead Prop
Favourite memory with the club: drawing with Bristol who are top of the league and of course beating Cardiff twice this season.
Dream job: travel journalist
Name: Rhian Perry
Position: Scrum half
Favourite memory with the club: doing the double over Cardiff and winning Aber 7’s last year.
Dream job: officer in the Royal Navy
Beth: So girls, you’ve had a record-breaking season, beating Cardiff for the first time, how do you both feel about it?
Tasha: It’s a bit unbelievable, in a way. There’s been so much stigma attached to it, you know like you have to beat Cardiff but then we’ve not been successful in the past few years, Well, we haven’t ever been successful, and it’s just a shock.
I think in other years we’ve let the pressure get to us whereas this year we’ve you know we’ve got speed outside and we’ve just used it.
Rhian: Yeah, we know where the weaknesses are and we know where our strengths are, and we’ve just been utilising them this year. And it’s so nice, the past 2 years losing to them has been horrible and this year, it’s just been great!
T: and it’s not just been a little win either, I mean Sunday was 31 – 0, that’s huge
R: Yeah it’s a convincing win
You all did so well, I came to watch one of the games and it was amazing to watch!
B: So going into Varsity what is the plan of action for the team?
T: Well, there’s a lot of competition this year, so I think all of us are going to have to put our all into it, and there’s going to be a lot of fitness, psychological sessions and skills based work, but it’s not going too much packed in, we’ve been dealing with it the whole year, fitness, Wednesday matches, training on Saturdays and all that.
B: Are you both playing?
R: Yep, both got in!
B: What would you say has been your best moment in rugby this year, apart from beating Cardiff?
T: I would have to say the match we played against Bristol (9th March) because they’re top of the league and we drew with them 15 – 15, and technically we did win, the ref disallowed a try because he didn’t get there in time
R: Don’t say that too loud he’s sat over there! Haha
T: Oh, that’s so awkward!! Umm, yeah, so, I think that was mine, because I was terrified to go against Bristol and then they weren’t as bad as I thought, they weren’t unbeatable
R: Because we’d played them the week before, and we’d been winning the all through the first half, playing really well and then it just all went to pot in the 2nd half – so we knew we could beat them so it was good to have that 2nd chance
B: Rhian, what would you say your best moment has been?
R: I liked beating Bath at the beginning of the year, the won the first match but we got revenge a few weeks later, and won that really convincingly – That was the first time everyone really gelled together and it was such a good feeling!
B: What would you say to the people reading this, who have thought “I want to try something next year, maybe Women’s Rugby is for me?”
R: Come and try it!
T: Yeah, don’t hold back, don’t be scared about it
R: You don’t want to regret not going for it, come see us, see if you like it and go from there!
T: We’re a nice bunch!
R: And even if you don’t feel confident, we’ve got a development team so you won’t just be thrown into the deep end against the BUCS girls
T: Yeah you won’t have a Bristol player running at you, or an England player or something like that!
R: Exactly, it’s a chance to learn everything from the basics with a bunch of girls who are in exactly the same position as you
T: And it’s absolutely fantastic that we’ve had the opportunity to do that
B: You’ve had record numbers of members this year, haven’t you?
T: Yeah, we had 45 members last year and 70 odd now, so we’ve pretty much doubled it – and good portion of those have stayed involved for the whole year, so we’ve good loads of players coming up through development
R: And they have their Development Varsity coming up against Cardiff’s Development team
T: It’s like a warm up for Varsity, KO is 12pm on the 16th April on the Sketty Pitches, so everyone come down and support them!
B: What are your best memories of Varsity, either as a player or supporter?
T: I loved last year because it was so sunny, and there was such a great turnout for all the teams, and was just so great!
B: Was it nice to play in a Swansea crowd?
T: 100% I went to watch the Women’s Rugby the year before in Cardiff, and it just had a really different vibe about it
R: It was nice, because even though there was a big crowd, the majority were from Swansea so they’re on your side, so even if you mess up they’re not going to be shouting “What are you doing?!” they’re more like “Come on girls! You can do it!”
T: We love the support, this year especially, because we want to smash them at Varsity, we’ve beaten them twice, there’s nothing that should stop us.
B: Going for a hat trick?
R: Yeah, this is the best we’ve been
T: Plus, Siwan (our Coach) said she’ll get a tattoo if we get the 3 wins haha!
R: She said she *might* but we’ll take her to get one anyway!
T: I think previous years, we’ve been “This is our year” and stuff like that but this genuinely is our year, because we have beaten them twice, we are capable, well more than capable, we are better than them
R: So it’s just up to us on the day
B: You both been to a few Varsities over the years, what advice would you give someone who’s never been before?
R: Get out and watch as much as you can, don’t stay in until like 12, get out early, watch everything and enjoy the day!
T: My first one, I didn’t know where anything was because it was in Cardiff, I was like “Where’s fencing?! Well I’m going to miss that because I can’t find it” so take advantage of it being in Swansea, because next year it could be Cardiff and you won’t know where everything is
R: And pace yourselves is probably a good one too
T: Balance it, balance the alcohol with shed loads of food!