Ealing 1871 Women Guide U12 Girls in Their First Rugby 7’s Festival


Superb Ealing 1871 Women role models guide the U12 Girls in their first Rugby 7’s Festival

The U12 Girls Youth squad had their first foray into 7’s Rugby on Saturday at the London Irish Emeralds International Girls Rugby Festival. With an early start on a hot, sunny and windy day the Ealing side needed and stood out off the pitch under the shade of the bright orange ET gazebo. The U12 girls were very fortunate to have the services of three Ealing 1871 Women’s squad players as guest coaches. A huge round of applause goes out to currently injured Ealing 1871 Women’s players Eden Commins, Jess Axebrink and Kayleigh Pink. These three ladies were superb role models for our aspiring U12 Girls and guided them thru the nuances of 7’s rugby.

With 18 teams competing in the U12 age group alone Saturday was for the U12’s and U14’s at a very busy and superbly organised festival at the Hazelwood complex. The U16’s and U18’s groups of the festival played on Sunday.

Ealing U12 girl’s came up against two very organised and strong sides in Old Albanians and Battersea Ironsiders in the morning matches. Although the Ealing girls were slower to start and a tad hesitant at the breakdown they managed to consistently deploy some free flowing attacking play. In both morning games Ealing were the early try-scorers, put in some committed cover tackles and the speed and slick passing of our outside backs caused the opposition real problems. However, the pace of 7’s and not committing players to defensive lines or being quick to the breakdown meant Ealing were losing almost every ruck – resulting in two first up losses of 7-2.

The long lunch break ensured time for reflection and refocusing ……. Roll out the hype and motivation of Eden, Jess and Kayleigh from their Ealing 1871 Women’s experience. After an impromptu coaching session on defensive line speed and committing to rucks game three against a handy Wasps side was almost flawless from start to finish with a stylish Ealing 8-5 win. Unfortunately, this form just couldn’t be followed up in the final game against Richmond where Ealing went down bravely 6-4.

Given that all 11 of the Ealing girls had never played 7’s before and we had just three hurried 7’s training sessions it was a great learning curve and amazing overall performance. Player of the Day went jointly to Catherine Gallagher and Iga Pawlica – both girls are in their first ever season of rugby. Special mentions were made by the Ealing 1871 ladies around consistency and confidence building play as the festival wore on for Eydie Field, Cameron Isaac-Simon and Luella Wells.

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