The development of the women’s rugby is key to continually expanding the sport in Ireland and Leinster duo Judy Bobbett and Jenny Bagnall are two key figures in that fight.
In the third instalment of Energia’s #ThePowerBehindLeinster series, Bobbett and Bagnall explain how far women’s rugby has come in Ireland over the past number of years.
The Leinster lock began playing at just six years of age at her local club Ashbourne and was, as she explained, the only girl there at the time.
“I started when I was six years old in my local club in Ashbourne.
“I was the only girl in Ashbourne Rugby Club at the time. I used to put on a scrum cap just so the boys couldn’t see that I had long hair. At that stage Ireland were doing fantastic, the women were down playing and training in Ashbourne. After games, I would’ve been fangirling over them. Seeing those girls in my club it kind of opened my eyes to see that this can go places.”
For Jenny Bagnall, Leinster Women’s Development Officer, she’s seen her resources grow over the last few years with the club working hard to provide them with the support required.
“When I first started in this job, we were trying to persuade people that they wanted to play rugby. I think we had seven girls youth teams across all clubs. Whatever has happened in the last few years there’s been a huge change in the girls’ mindset, in the actual players’ mindset.
“I think Leinster are working really hard to give them the support they need. There are more resources, there are people coming on board, sponsoring the women’s team. To have a team of four of us now has made a huge difference.
“Having the extra staff has allowed us to put a magnifying glass over the female game. Last year we were up to 64 girls teams and this year it’s closer to 90. The growth is incredible.”
You can watch the full episode below;