I love fitness and I love trying new sports. However I sometimes (erm… often) cross certain sports off my mental list through no other reason that I *assume* I might not be fit enough, not coordinated enough, too old, or just not the right fit for the sport etc.

Rugby is one of those sports. And it seems like I’m not alone, as England Rugby (clearly familiar with this disappointing mind-set!) are introducing ‘Warrior Camps’ around the country from 12-21st May to give women and girls a taster of contact rugby and encourage more women and girls to try the sport. Importantly, you don’t need to have any rugby experience or be ‘match fit’ to take part – it’s open to everyone! And the sessions are FREE (visit www.Englandrugby.com/innerwarrior to find a camp near you).

I was invited to try out a taster Warrior Camp session last Friday with the added bonus of having two amazing players from England Rugby there for tips and advice – Fly Half badass, Sarah Mckenna, and under-19s player, Emma Uren – along with fab PT and Warrior Camp ambassador, Chloe Madeley.

Here’s the lowdown…


What are they?
A fun intro to contact rugby for women and girls of all ages, backgrounds, fitness abilities and rugby experience. Don’t worry if your fitness is rusty, you don’t know the rules or you’ve never played before. That’s the WHOLE POINT. Hurrah!

What happens in a session?
Warrior Camps are group sessions (bring a mate!) led by rugby coaches, and include a bit of fitness alongside an introduction to basic rugby skills that are ideal for beginners. Get muddy, have fun and sharpen up your rugby skills!

Our session started with a gentle warm-up and a fun throwing and catching game before we split into two teams and played a version of piggy-in-the-middle.

The idea of the camp is to teach you the basics of passing, tackling and using space, so we were introduced to a skill such as passing, which we practiced and then worked into our piggy-in-the-middle game. We’d then go back to work on another skill, such as how to sidestep or how to tackle (using a nice inflatable weeble, initially!), before introducing that into a game-style scenario.

By the end of the one-hour session, the piggy-in-the-middle had morphed into a friendly game where we adhered (mostly!) to rugby rules.

What kit do I need?
Sports kit, and trainers/boots with grip or studs (if possible) – sessions are on grass.

Would you recommend it?
Yes! Did I feel like a badass? Absolutely – I think it’s impossible not to when playing rugby!
I genuinely had fun, learnt loads, and it reminded me how much I enjoy team games.
As they’re held at local rugby clubs, Warrior Camps offer a great way to break the ice, meet current club members and remove the worry about rocking up as an ‘unknown’.

When are the Warrior Camps running? England Rugby is running 100 Warrior Camps across the country from Friday 12 – Sunday 21 May.

Where can I find out more? Visit www.Englandrugby.com/innerwarrior to find out more and locate your closest Warrior Camp.

And more rugby…
England Rugby’s Red Roses will be defending their incredible Rugby World Cup title when the women’s Rugby World Cup comes to Ireland in August. Look out for my interview with fly-half, Sarah McKenna in the next few weeks, where we talk training, preparation and how the women’s game differs to the men’s.

Keep you posted…