On this beautiful Sunday, we had our first proper game of the season - a friendly with our Strand neighbours, LSE, who are always great fun to play. It was the first game for many, many of our freshers and we're very happy to walk away victoriously, partly due to our great play, but also because lucky charm mascots Sarah and dog Luna were there to cheer us on (see photo with Paz below.. who's more excited, Paz or puppy??)
The scrums were initially contested and LSE dominated these and stole many of our balls. After injuries, we went to uncontested, though, which really put us back in the game, though it's always frustrating for the forwards not to get really agro at the bind (though that didn't stop fresher Angharad, hehe). Forwards phases worked really well, using our pod and rucking training to break the gain line and secure our balls - very few turnovers, yay!
Our backline showed excellent ball handling skills and managed to outrun the LSE defense on multiple occasions - shoutout to Reagan, Chiara, Marie-Lys and Helen, who really made a massive push for our first try, executed straight by the book. Defensively, tackles were solid from backs and forwards throughout the game, stopping even strong, tall LSE girls in their tracks. Special mention to freshers Ree and Tash who put in some try-stopping tackles and Paz who had a moment of fame as fullback.
In the final 20 minutes, LSE were getting frustrated at not using their opportunities properly, and we had to defend at our try line for 15 minutes, mauling, holding up balls and making turn-overs in the ruck. We were absolutely WHEEZING by the end, but still managed to kick and chase soooo many balls, keep our composure and play to the whistle. EXCELLENT PLAY!
Tries: Chiara (1), Mariama (1), Marie-Lys (1)
Conversions: Chloe (2)
Forwards of the day: Rosie and Jess
Backs of the day: Marie-Lys and Reagan
Dick of the Day: Angharad for hooking in LSE's uncontested scrum... woopsie
Our first game of the year was as always the annual Alumni Games against recent and old graduates of our beloved KCLWRFC family. The sun popped out exactly for the 2 hours where we played on the pitch at HOP, making this a hot affair.
The first 15 minutes, the current squad showed great defense and managed to keep the alumni in their own half (no small feat!!) before letting in a few tries in the second quarter (courtesy of ex-8 Daisy and old captain Anna M). Freshers Rosie, Tash and Afaf showed AMAZING defensive skills, really using our session from Wednesday to put in some sick tackles. Ball handling and passing also improved as the game went on - special shout-out to fresher and first-time centre Ree! - and fewer and fewer mistakes were made, resulting in an impressively low number of penalties and dropped balls.
As we ventured into second half, we switched teams 50/50, so alumni and current girls were able to play with each other (the scoreline is the one left at halftime). Uncontested scrums meant fly-halves and wingers went to front row when needed, making even the ref laugh (speaking of the ref, someone apparently pinched his bum while we played?? Hilarious). The whole game culminated in fresher Tash scoring her very first try for KCLWRFC, placing the bad boy underneath the posts after solid forwards play.
As always, a great game with two great squads. We even won team of the year at the award ceremony afterwards and somehow accepted a viking hat on behalf of the whole KCL Alumni side.
Finally, defending her title from last year, Emma H won the Joanne Smith Award for Selflessness, Dedication and Adversity, presented by Emily Smith, Jo's daughter. Jo was always a fantastic support for the team before passing away in 2014 and the award each year goes to the player who best embody her spirit by showing unconditional dedication, loyalty and selflessness.
Joanne Smith Award for Selflessness, Dedication and Adversity: Emma H
Forwards of the match: Tash (x2), Daisy, Rosie, Afaf
Backs of the match: Marie-Lys, Hannah
Dick of the day: Alumni George for running to score a try, only to knock on the ball as she entered the try zone!! Worthy runner-ups were Chiara, who fell on her bike the morning of the game and couldn't play, Liz, who was caught squealing while playing and finally Daisy, who bestowed a nearby bush with her sick.
Please make sure you come along to one of our Welcome events below! We're so excited to meet all of you. Whether you've never played, you're a 2nd or 3rd year, Master's student, PhD or a pro, we take in all abilities with open arms. If you'd like to meet us in person and hear a bit more, you can find us at the Fresher's Fair at the Barbican Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th.
Don't worry, we don't bite (the gumshields usually prevent that...)!
Diane came from Lille, France to study English and French Law at King's in 2014. After two years of rugby, socials, tours (and a little bit of studying), she is now on her way back to France with
Bonjour, Diane! First off, what do you play on the team?
I usually play in the backline, outside centre (13). But at Varsity I played wing too, which was fun. I once tried forward and I was shocked at how much work it was haha!
Did you play rugby before?
I never played rugby before joining KCLWRFC. I'd played a bit of basket and football in France, but I thought rugby looked fun and I knew it was a very British thing and I wanted to get integrated. I had a look on the website and in freshers' week I coincidentally met the only other French person on the team, Claire, at the student bar and she encouraged me to join! The rest is history.
What caught your interest about the team?
I really liked the atmosphere, the old girls and the initiation, which was a riot! I liked my course mates a lot, but I got more of that carefree, fun atmosphere on the rugby team. It was exciting! I remember also being very scared about my first game - terrified - but everyone was so supportive and praised me. I even got Back of the Match for that game! The old girls handed me a pint as a prize at the social afterwards. I knew I had found the team for me then.
What was your best memory from your 2 years on the team?
My proudest moment was probably alumni games in my first year. I'd caught the ball and ran past the alumni girls, but I didn't know what to do then. One of the old girls screamed at me, 'Go, go, go!!' and I ran to the try line and scored. I had no idea what I was doing, but the team told me that was the first time a fresher had scored at an alumni game! I still remember that moment so vividly.
My best memories are probably from all the socials. One of our first ones was Smurf Night and I had just come from a fancy Law Dinner with a team mate and had to change from formal wear to smurf clothes in front of all these important people who probably thought we were a bit bizarre. We took the tube to Waterfront and had the best night ever, covered in blue paint from head to toe.
How do you feel being on the team has impacted your time at King's?
Playing rugby has been a huge part of my life - it would not have been the same without it. In my first year, it was a great way to socialise, to meet people from all over the world that I'd never have met or talked to otherwise. It was also a great way to integrate with the British culture and improving my English, which was something I really wanted out of my stay in England too. I think French people can tend to huddle together in small groups with other French people, but on the rugby team I was forced to speak English, as there was only one other French person, Claire. In my second year it was even more fun; I had more experience playing and actually knew what I was doing on the pitch, hahaha!
Rugby was the perfect sport for me, because you don't really need to be athletic or extroverted to fit in on the team. No matter your size or shape, there's a position on the pitch for you. I also remember some shy people joining us in my second year who really opened up because, well, we are all just girls hanging out together and there's always something to talk about because we play the same game. I found that my team mates also encouraged and supported me a lot more than in other sports I'd tried, because at the end of the day, we're in this together as a team.
Incoming study abroad student at King's? Want to make best friends, get exercise and unforgettable experiences?
Every year, we are lucky enough to have incoming study abroad students join our team. Whether experienced or new players, these girls always give 110% on the pitch and at sports nights in Walkabout!
In the first semester 2015/2016, Devon from New England College, NH, USA, joined the team - and we had so much fun with her that we even convinced her to fly all the way back to Europe during spring break for the annual Tour. That's the KCL Spirit!
As I was packing the night before my flight, I looked at my rugby kit and decided to stuff them in my suitcase just in case. I then made my way to the Freshers' Fair and Welcome Social where I met a few team members who encouraged me to join!
How has being part of KCL Women’s Rugby shaped your exchange experience?
Joining KCL Women’s Rugby was one of the best experiences that I have ever had. From being slightly nervous about going to a different country without knowing anyone, to coming home with over 30 new friends from all different cultures is truly rewarding. Anyone you ask who studies abroad wants to get the ‘full experience’ of the county that they choose to go to. - from getting to know the culture, to the best places to get drinks/food, to learn the language or even to know the best hotspots of the city. For me, I would not have had the London experience without my teammates. Without them teaching me all about the culture or what a queue, a quid, a fiver, or even what fancy dress was, I might have been lost without them. I not only learned a lot about myself while studying abroad, but I came home with a thousand rugby memories that I will never forget.
That's so sweet! Finally, do you have a favourite rugby moment?
Probably my favorite rugby moment was my last game, when everyone sang our rugby song to me. Nothing can compare to the bond I had with such an amazing team.
Devon in the pile of rugby gals (she's in there somewhere...):
The victorious team -1 (Emma was fast asleep in our tent).
At the very end of this year's season, when most had made their way home to the provinces, 10 KCLWRFC souls braved the elements and road tripped down to Cornwall for Newquay 7s.
We camped out in the area, where nothing but our trusty tents could shelter from the rain and cold winds. However, we and all the other teams were in great spirits and so we knew it'd be a great weekend.
All Saturday, we played in the Women's Social Tournament and managed to secure 2nd place after 5 terrific games! We were ecstatic. We celebrated accordingly with Cornish pasties and fish & chips before popping our heads into the local Walkabout, investigating whether the legendary Baywatch theme song + dance had made its way to Cornwall too (it hadn't).
On Sunday, we carbed up with a roast dinner and a well-deserved nap before cruising back to London under the influence of legendary 00's road trip tunes by the likes of Britney S and R Kelly.
Thanks for coming down - we'll definitely be back next year!
After having the game against our friendly Kingsway neighbours LSE cancelled 2 weeks in a row due to waterlogged Woodies it really was third time lucky today when we took to the main pitch and beat LSE 66-0. The lionesses played another strong game of rugby, which is reflected in our final score, keeping us at the top of both BUCS and LUSL Leagues yay!
KCLWRFC dominated the try line from the start to the end. With a strong starting team and all players eager to play our game was on point. The backs had a chance to try out their new moves they’ve been working on over the past few weeks and this was reflected in their skilful play. We ran superb support lines and towards the end we were beginning to link up during good play.
After half time, two of our key players, Liz and Xiao Xiao replaced their red jerseys for the purple ones as LSE were down two players. These traitors played KCLWRFC at their own game.
Despite a strong score, the game reflected areas to work on, especially as Varsity is approaching quickly. Coach Matt was generally impressed with today’s play but highlighted some tackling techniques that we were missing – the “chop and pop” – as well as the amount of risky offloading.
As we begin to play cup games next week, our game against LSE was a strong start to the competitive week ahead of us.
Tries: Marie Lys (2), Tara, Jess, Lauren W, Liz, Emma P, Kathy, Emma H (2), Ana
Conversions: Chloe (3)
Opposition Player of the Match: Ana
Back of the Match: Bianca
Forward of the Match: Nav
We returned to our lovely fixtures secretary’s home town: Reading. The sun was shining but even without our coach (again, we’re starting to think he has a life outside of KCLWRFC rugby????) we we’re feeling hopeful and ready to play some rugby. The first twenty minutes were hard and the Reading girls had a strong defence and were good at holding us up, however with some passing (even from the forwards) we managed to score two team tries. After this we quickly scored three times in quick succession as we stopped drifting and had some good runs from both the forwards and the backs. The backs showed off some of their super secret fancy backs moves which they’ve been practising with our captain Ana scoring a try from one. Us forwards were very impressed.
The Reading girls scrum remained strong throughout the second half meaning any knock ons or turnovers were dangerous for us. Fresher Chloe, our new 9 after Celina left us for the sunny Singapore, showed some great instinct lifting a ball from a scrum in our half and scoring. Good forward phases and co-operation with the backs meant that we had a good offensive throughout the match. Our defence had also improved from our previous match and line out steals from Emma H meant that we weren’t on the defence for long. We still have some points in our defence to improve on but this was a great building block for our future matches.
Written by: Emma H (because no one else will write about me in a match report)
Tries: Daisy (4), Ana (3), Chloe (2), Marie-Lys (1), Georgina (1)
Conversions: Chloe (3)
Forward of the Match: Daisy
Back of the Match: Claire
Opposition Player of the Match: Chloe
Dick of the Day: Kate (for not knowing what the medi bag looks like)
Finally it was time to actually play our first match of the New Year after disappointing cancellations because of the weather. We were to play on of our strongest opponents in our league; Brunel. Our spirits were high as we began our warm up and some pre- match yoga thanks to Helen. We were determined to win even without our coach Matt there today.
Brunel had the first kick off but we were focused, organised and fast from our first catch. Some good forward phases and speedy work from our backs soon secured our first try which was pushed over the line by Lynn. Some poor tackling from Brunel and some superb side stepping from Chiara and Marie –Lys meant that soon they had both scored in quick succession. Brunel were good in the scrum and a lot of forward passes by us meant that it wasn’t a walk over. We kept fighting and soon some football like play by Marie-Lys and Chiara secured another try. However with Brunel injuries and them having no subs we had to keep going between 14 and 15 players. After the first half we were feeling strong
At the beginning of the second half it was finally time for an old favourite to play again after having been out all season; George. Brunel came in the second half and clearly a heated pep talk from their Viking-like coach. Our good tackles and speed largely kept them at bay however a disorganised flat line allowed Brunel to sneak two tries of the line. Freshers’ Jess, Laura and Chloe were able to battle through the Brunel defence at their try line both scoring. Chiara would have scored as well if not for our own player Becky calling touch as she ran for the try line.
It was finally good to get back to a game of muddy rugby and we’ll all definitely be feeling it tomorrow.
- Emma H (as always trying to taking over the entire committee one role at a time)
Tries: Chloe, Jess, Laura, Lynn, Chiara, Marie-Lys (2)
Connversions: Chloe (2)
Oppositions Player of the Match: Ana
Dick of the day: Becky
Words from our President:
After a bit of a rocky summer, the club has managed to turn things around in a very impressive way. The club keeps on growing and improving and nothing could show it more clearly than our amazing winning strike. With more than 40 members this year, we've been able to put out a great team for every single game (despite some injuries). The new comers have settled in really quickly and have shown great things on and off the pitch. In other words, the future of the club is in very good hands. Our hard work at training and success on the pitch have been accompanied by great socials - where some of our beloved alumni have made special guest appearances.
Our hopes for the New Year are to keep up the hard work to hopefully stay undefeated but more importantly to keep on improving. If possible, we would also love to see more of our alumni during the semester but no matter what we're expecting them on the 11th of March for Varsity.
I wish you all the very best for the New Year!
Words from our Captain:
KCL women's have had a fantastic semester. Despite some unlucky early injuries, we were able to maintain the momentum from the start of the season and hold the dominance of both BUCS and LUSL leagues. We have also faced a couple of our biggest rivals from the previous years -including UCL- and managed to come out victorious. Commitment and hard work at training are paying off, and we have every intention of keeping it up to fight for a promotion in BUCS and a win at Varsity. Unfortunately, the end of 2015 marks the moment when we have to say goodbye to two of our lovely players: prop Devon and scrummy Celina. We wish you all the luck in your next adventure! However, being the end of 2015 also means we can proudly say that we are entering 2016 unbeaten.
Happy New Year!
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