Girls kicking old image

Rugby used to be populated by ugly people with few teeth, broken noses and mashed up ears.

And that was just the women!

But its image and participant profile has changed dramatically in recent years, which is why two teenagers from John Gray High School are training keenly to get into the women’s Under-19 squad. They also hope to break through into the women’s squad that will tour Miami in a few weeks.

Jade Webster, 16, is a back.

She’s been playing rugby for a year and part of the appeal is meeting new people, improving her fitness and because it’s not as widely played in Cayman such as football, cricket or tennis.

She hones her all round fitness by playing netball and swimming.

‘Rugby’s fun. I like it. I want to be a well known rugby player on the island.’

Webster is not concerned about injuries but is mentally prepared for it. ‘I’ve been lucky not to have got injured yet.’

Martina Jackson, also 16, has been playing for two years.

‘It’s fun and a great way to keep fit. I don’t really do any other sport. I do tap dance and used to do jazz dance and don’t really know if you can consider that a sport.’

What is rugby’s appeal for her?

‘I like tackling people. I’m not really aggressive but if you know how to play properly then it’s fun. Tackling’s below the waist so it’s not as risky as it might look, but if people don’t know how to play, sometimes they might grab you round the neck. I remember a bad situation with that.’

Jackson hopes to go to a college – UCS in Orlando – next year that plays women’s rugby.

‘My brother and one of my cousins used to play and we had a lot of fun playing on the guys’ team but they’ve gone off now. They started when they were in middle school.’

The Under-19 women train every Monday from 3.30pm at the rugby club in South Sound. Anyone interested should ring Coach David Mays on 924 9951.

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