Cheerleaders add their voices – and pompoms – to MMU Rugby action and Matchday Live
Any spectator watching from the touchlines at Platt Lane knows that rugby is a physically demanding, aggressive sport and that the will to win is paramount. What spurs players on is to know that their efforts mean something, as they push through the pain barrier to win for the team and for their colours.
So the appearance of a squad of 30 student cheerleaders on the touchlines at MMU Rugby’s home ground has both helped boost morale and vocalise support for the blue and orange first XV – notably during the recent 38-7 win against St Andrews.
In between the tries and the scrums, the girls dance and sing songs of support, waving their pom-poms and executing complicated choreography, like hoisting fellow cheerleaders onto their shoulders.
The team was created by Alex Drysdale, studying for a Masters in education at Brooks after a stint as a primary school teacher.
“We wanted to do something to get behind the team, and I’ve always loved cheerleading,” she said. “I asked a few girls I knew if they’d be interested and was overwhelmed at the response. We’ve got a squad of 85 cheerleaders signed up!”
How does the rugby squad feel about the addition of colourful, choreographed support from the cheerleaders? Head of MMU Rugby Rob Jones said: “We love it – I’d like everyone to learn the words of their songs! We’re already getting crowds of 150+ coming to our games, and the Matchday Livestream has helped raise our profile in the worldwide rugby community. The cheerleaders bring a brilliant atmosphere to the matchday experience.
“When the game’s going on we’re focused on the action, but the players get a boost from the cheerleaders backing them, and that drives them on to dig deeper and give the crowd what they want: the win.”
The girls will be backing the rugby first XV from the sidelines at each livestreamed appearance on Matchday Live – the next TV game is 7 December versus Doncaster College (Doncaster Knights Academy) – they’ll also be lending their support to the MMU Futsal team and cheering along for the legendary Students’ Union Fight Night.
The video gives a brief taste of the backing they’re providing!