Sophie Derbyshire: My Grassroots Story!
When is it too late to get into rugby? The answer is simple... never! Unlike football, Rugby has such a diverse range of positions / roles you can virtually play the game at any age, build and ability! There are so many variations of the game e.g; touch rugby, sevens, nines, tag, wheelchair... I really don't think you can find a more inclusive mainstream sport!
This fact has been proven once again by 16 year old Sophie Derbyshire from Hartlepool. Sophie began playing rugby 2 years ago and has remarkably worked her way into the England development setup! In between developing her skills with England, Sophie plays for Durham County Under 18s (2 years above her age grade) and Hartlepool Rovers. I recently caught up with Sophie to chat about her Grassroots Story! Here's what she had to say to GRM:
1. Your rapid rise from picking up a rugby ball to now being involved in the England development camp is really impressive, what things are the RFU putting in place to drive the Womens game?
" Currently the RFU are putting many things in place to get Women and girls playing rugby regularly . One of these being the inner warrior events being held at many rugby clubs around the Country. These session includes fun drills/games to encourage women and girls to give rugby a go!"
2. Talk us through some of your achievements so far.
"So far my biggest achievement in my career is being selected for a trial for the north of England just 6 months after starting rugby And then a year later being accepted into the centre of excellence academy (old North of England). In the short time I’ve being playing I feel like this is my biggest achievement and gives me a drive to work hard and work my way up the elite player pathway".
3. What inspired you to get involve in rugby and what sport would you be involved in if you wasn't playing rugby?
" If I had not started playing rugby I probably would not be participating in regular sporting activities. Since I have started playing rugby I have been inspired by many people to become a better sports woman on and off the pitch. One of the people who has inspired me the most is my coach Darren Smith who has pushed me to perform the best I can!
4. Where do you see Womens rugby in the next 5 years?
"In the next 5 years I believe women’s rugby will grow drastically and become more popular around the country with hundreds of more women and girls taking part or becoming part of a team".
5. What is your long-term goal?
" My long term goal in my rugby career is to represent England in the six nations and play in the Tyrell 15s League in the future".