A NEW ground-breaking rugby team is looking for women as it prepares to scrum down.
Oldham RUFC Ladies, the town’s first women’s side, has a couple of events this month to raise its profile as it embarks upon a series of friendlies.
And with plans to also launch an U15s team, club officials are holding a recruitment day on Saturday, March 4 in Parliament Square between 11am-2pm in which there will be passing and skills routines.
Then on Saturday, March 18 from noon onwards, a rugby fun day takes place at Manor Park with youngsters invited to come and take part in tag rugby matches.
Deone Blignaut, assistant coach, first-team captain and a founder member, believes these will help spread the word and be a boost in their recruitment drive.
She says women’s rugby has never had a higher profile with highlights of the Women’s Six Nations televised for the first time on the BBC and the RFU spending heavily on developing women’s and girls’ games.
Deone, who plays as a back-row forward, is excited with how the women’s team is taking shape explaining the team plans to visit Belfast in August to take part in a mini touch rugby festival that will run alongside the Women’s World Cup and take part in a festival in Barcelona at the end of September.
“We started with two players in the first week of January and that number has grown to 13, some of who are from Saddleworth,” she explained.
Deone formed the team alongside coach Kieran Burrows and Matt Dyson who will also be an assistant coach. They had been involved in Rugbytots, a pre-school toddler fun initiate for children aged between two and seven years.
She played rugby as a child in her native South Africa, but there were never any leagues for girls and women.
And of the appeal of women’s rugby, Deone said: “It promotes sportsmanship and teamwork, is great for fitness, you meet new people and make friends. It boosts confidence and importantly we have fun.
“It’s not really been difficult to get ladies involved. Rugby is probably one of the very few sports that caters for any body shape. Fitness will come in time as we offer structured training sessions and ability is taught.
“Rhe element of contact puts some ladies off but once they experience a training session they soon realise and understand that playing safe is part of our core values.
“Being part of a team, socialising and the elements of respect and values are such important parts of rugby.”
Training for players aged 16 years and over takes place on Tuesdays from 8-9pm at Hathershaw College on Tuesday and at Oldham RUFC on Friday, from 7-8pm. To find out more contact Deone on 07717 504785.