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Meet Cwmbran High School’s first girls’ rugby team

A group of year 7 and year 8 girls at Cwmbran High School have played their first rugby match for their school.

The team started training this year and played their debut match against The John Frost School who travelled from Newport to Cwmbran for the fixture. Callum Redman, is the WRU rugby hub officer at Cwmbran High School. Cwmbran Life asked him to tell us how the team was formed and how girls are being encouraged to play the sport.

Callum said: “Through obtaining a WRU Rugby Hub Officer at Cwmbran High School, it has allowed the school to provide many opportunities to all pupils across the school to engage pupils and increase the profile of rugby in the school. This year there has been a huge drive to encourage pupils to engage in many diverse variations and formats of the game. There has been a massive focus on delivering the sport in many different formats in curricular time such as PE lessons for all year groups to be given the opportunity to experience the game in some way or format which suits the individuals’ needs. 

“It is clear to see that currently there is a lack of female participation in rugby, especially within schools. As a result, there has been a huge drive to encourage girls to participate in rugby within Cwmbran High School. There has been a huge drive to provide girls with lots of opportunities to engage in the game of rugby union within PE and core games lessons, whilst also adding girl-specific rugby sessions into our busy extra-curricular timetable at the school. Although it was challenging to get girls involved to start, due to girls having different perceptions and stereotypes of the sport. For example, when initially starting rugby within the curriculum most of the girls’ responses to doing it was, “why are we doing rugby? I don’t want to do it, I hate it” when they had never even tried the sport.

“Although the full variation of the game was not delivered in curricular, it was made fun and engaging so that the girls could gain a positive experience from it and want to do it again. Since delivering rugby in girls curricular PE and core games lessons it has enabled girls to perceive the game of rugby in a different manner. Subsequently providing a greater interest from girls to attend extra-curricular rugby sessions. This has been done by providing extra-curricular lunch clubs specific to girls in the school. 

“With girls’ rugby participation and interest growing within the school, it has allowed the school to build a great working relationship with the Arrows Female Rugby Hub based in Pontypool and Usk. Since the girls being provided with these opportunities, we have successfully encouraged six girls to join the Arrows Girls Rugby Hub outside of school. This relationship benefits the girls through them playing both in and outside school, contributing to regular rugby and improved overall development for pupils/participants. Five of these girls recently represented the Arrows at the National Girls Festival and had the opportunity to play at the Principality Stadium in April. Four of the five girls playing their first proper game for the first time at this event.

a girls rugby team
Some of the school team joined the Arrows rugby team and played at the Principality Stadium

“Throughout the academic year the school has also attended WRU Girls rugby events such as WRU Rookie Rugby and WRU Girls Rugby Secondary School Festivals. These trips contribute to interest from girls within the school to play the game of rugby union. This is due to the fun and enjoyment that they have gained from these experiences. 

“We have also provided events internally within school such as the GLAM (the Girls Leadership And Marketing Squad who promote female sports and activity in school) Girls Day which was an initiative to encourage girls to stay active and participate within sport. This event was targeted at girls in year 7, 8 and 9. All girls within these year groups been off-timetable for the duration of the day to actively participate in sessions delivered by external providers. Some examples of external providers/activities provided were, Dragons Community Rugby, Dance UDOIT, Table Tennis, Dodgeball, Tennis, Football and the Royal Navy. We also have a GLAM Girls Leadership team within the school which consists of a group of students within the school whose aim is to try and encourage girls across the school to participate in sport and stay active. This proving to be a great motivational tool for girls to participate within sport.

“Through providing all of these opportunities to girls throughout the academic year, it has allowed us to create a core group of girls who are enthusiastic in playing rugby fixtures against other schools. Through gaining this core of female pupils within the school it has allowed us to play our first ever female rugby fixture at Cwmbran High School with 14 girls participating in the 10-aside rugby fixture. This was held at Cwmbran High School playing fields against The John Frost School (Newport). The John Frost School is in a similar situation to ourselves with this also being their first girls’ school rugby fixture. Considering this was both schools’ first ever game, it was a great game with lots of great rugby on show and most importantly lots of smiles on faces.

“With girls’ rugby participation and interest growing within the school, there will be a lot more opportunities provided for these girls as of September. This will be done by continuing to provide lots of in-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities. As well as providing the girls with regular female rugby fixtures against other schools”


The Arrows Rugby team

Five of the school’s team have joined the Arrows who train every week at Pontypool RFC and Usk RFC every week. Click here to visit the Arrows’ Facebook page.

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Meet Cwmbran High School’s first girls’ rugby team

a girls rugby team
Cwmbran High School's first girls' rugby team.