[Shaunagh]:  It’s important for us as women to realise that we are good enough. Now we are going to show that we’re good enough.

Royal London advocating for women in sport is about making people realise that women are here, we are not going anywhere, and we’re here to be taken seriously.

For me to be an ambassador for Royal London, it’s such a sense of pride. To me I’m still a kid from South London running around a Rugby pitch.

 

[Claire]:  Rugby is a game that’s really allowed me to thrive, not just as an athlete, but as a person.

It takes players from all different sizes, it’s the gritty determination that carries through the best players.

The feasibility study that Royal London is funding is looking at the viability of a Women’s Lions Tour.

 

[Shaunagh]: Women’s Lions Tour, for girls in the future, it just gives them that if I pull my socks up now, you can not only play for England, you can represent GB and Ireland.

We don’t get the same opportunities in life but it’s about not letting that determine your future. Go and be the only person like you in the room. You can be the one that goes to make history.

Meeting the Girls Rugby Club

Our Royal London ambassador Shaunagh Brown joined a Girls Rugby Club training camp in Horsham, West Sussex recently where she joined a group of 22 girls between the ages of 12 and 14 for warm-up matches and training drills. Shaunagh also took part in a Q&A session to talk about her career and give advice to the participants.

The Girls Rugby Club recognises that the traditional rugby environment is not always designed with girls in mind. The Club provides an environment for girls to enjoy rugby, discover their skills and strengths and become inspired to take their rugby further.

It was great for Royal London to be part of the day and support Girls Rugby Club with this event.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the day in the following video.

[CAPTION] Royal London is the first Principal Partnert of the Women’s Lions Programme.

Funding a study to examine whether a Lions Women’s team can be formed.
Royal London ambassador Shaunagh Brown, went along to Horsham Rugby Club to see how Girls Rugby Club is fostering the next generation of female talent.

VICKY: Hi guys, welcome to Horsham. It's going to be a really good day today. We've got Marlie Packer coaching with us, we've got Shaunagh Brown visiting us who will be coaching you throughout the day. We've got Royal London down with us, who are the principal supporters of creating the Women's Lions Programme.

SHAUNAGH: I've only popped in, so I've got 22 caps for England. I'm just gonna be telling jokes and entertaining you and making you want to play rugby because rugby's about having fun.

So my role here today at Girl's Rugby Club is representing Royal London and showing the girls that, basically, this is where it all starts for becoming the best and that we can all do it and the fact that I'm down here, Marlie's down here today as England Rugby players, it's like we're all one family.

Aspiration to become a winger for England. There's a lot of wingers here.

VICKY: The Girl's Rugby Club, it's a club designed solely for girls to be delivered by girls and we deliver rugby camps to girls of all ages, so anywhere from U18s through to the U11s.

SHAUNAGH: For me, Girl's Rugby Club is about the future and it's about girls realising that we can do it, and it's actually about girls taking ownership and being a part of something and it's very important to the future of rugby because the growth of the game is only going to come from more people playing and the easiest way to get more people playing is to dip into over 50% of the population, which is female.

MARLIE: So, when the ball's down at your hip, the power's coming from your arm and through.

I first got into rugby, a friend from school, his parents actually took me. My mum thought I was going to watch but I came back covered in mud and I've never not been back since, I absolutely loved it.

For me, it's been a massive part of my life now for so many years and being able to inspire the Girls Rugby Club to be able to do what I've done and inspire to be a Red Rose is now why I do it.

VICKY: We have now seen a lot of these girls progress into county, into the Centre of Excellence through the England pathway and to be part of their journey, even in a small way, that for me, is just fantastic.

SHAUNAGH: So, Payton is going to get nice and low.
She's gonna tackle and she's going to do, have you heard of ring of steel? The ring of fire? So, she grabs nice and tight because Payton would be able to tackle me because all she has to do is hold my legs.

There's certainly been a rise in the number of women's teams at club level. Not only at the community game grass roots level, but also at the top-end premiership level.

Now people want to be a part of it, people want to spend money and invest in their girls and women because it is the future of the sport, we just need more people playing it and those people are going to be women and girls.

VICKY: I think it's really important for these girls to see players like Marlie, like Shaunagh, at these camps in order to be able to say, "I can be that person. I want to be her."

For those who don't go on to play, to remember the likes of people like me to be like, "Well, she doesn't play anymore, but she coaches and I can do that, too." And I think that's really important.

JENNY: I started playing rugby, I think I was about two or three and I just carried on from there.

To girls thinking of playing rugby, I would say, definitely do it. It's worth a try even if you don't carry on playing, it's a nice opportunity and a way to make friends and get fit.

CHARLIE: One thing I learned today is always just to stay positive and carry on no matter how it's going.

MARLIE: I think the future of having a Women's Lions Team would be something just incredible. Just the whole persona of The British & Irish Lions. It's something that doesn't happen every year, it's extremely special.
ISSY: If there was a Women's Lions Tour, it would mean a lot being able to have the chance to play in the future. I think it would show a lot more equality and have more girls want to join in because they can have the chance to play against many other countries.

SHAUNAGH: It's important that Royal London are here supporting this event to show the girls that, this is big, this is real, this is something special, and the growth, I have no doubt, that Royal London and women's rugby are going to grow together and this is just a start for sure.

[CAPTION] Stay up to date by visiting http://royallondon.com/rugby

Claire Molloy

Claire Molloy is an Ireland women's rugby union international and is currently the most capped player in the squad. She represented Ireland in the 2010 and 2014 Women’s World Cup squads and captained the team at the 2017 competition. Claire was also a member of the Ireland teams that won the 2013 and 2015 Women's Six Nations Championships.

She is also an Ireland women's rugby sevens international and captained the Ireland team at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Claire has also played ladies' Gaelic football professionally for Galway and featured in the 2005 All-Ireland Senior Ladies' Football Championship Final.

Claire is an A&E doctor and has recently returned to her medical career.

As a Royal London ambassador, I hope to showcase how women’s rugby can be a commercially viable sport, bursting with fantastic role models for companies like Royal London to invest in and to grow the game for everyone. - Claire Molloy

Working with Royal London will help to amplify my voice as a force for good. I am incredibly proud to be a part of the beginning of what could be an incredible powerful relationship between Royal London, women and sport. - Shaunagh Brown

Shaunagh Brown

Shaunagh Brown is a current Harlequins Women’s and England Senior Women’s international having made her international debut in November 2017 against Canada.

After working as a gas engineer, commercial driver and firefighter, Shaunagh was awarded a full-time professional rugby contract at the age of 28, having already competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Hammer Throw.

She played every game in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Women’s Six Nations and won the Grand Slam in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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