Varsity test match for rugby women as record numbers sign up

  • MMU’s Women’s rugby return to the AJ Bell stadium for the highly anticipated 2017 varsity
  • Now in the same league as University of Manchester, MMU are looking to take the win after a tough 2016 match

After a clean sweep of wins in their league matches last year, MMU Women’s Rugby team are coming back stronger than ever in this year’s Varsity match against University of Manchester.

After a friendly warm-up match against Broughton Park last week the girls are confident that their training has prepared them for what will be a fierce match.

Starting the season with promotion into the National League 1A, the MMU girls will be facing University of Manchester again, with fixtures already pencilled in at the Platt Lane complex.


Captain Lizzie Gladman, a second year physiotherapy student from Warrington, said: “Playing the warm-up last week gave people an idea of how it’s going to be as a team.

“We’ve got two games coming up against them in the season now we’ve gone up, so hopefully it’ll be a bit closer than it was last year and we’ll get the win.”

Hungarian international and MMU Sports Scholar Fanni Kiss, 21, has joined the team for their 2017/18 season. Originally from Székesfehérvár, a town outside of Budapest, she is completing a foundation year in sports management

“I think it’s a big chance for the women’s team, because we hope there will be a lot of people coming to watch,” she said.

But even with the added pressure of moving to a tougher league, the girls are keen to encourage more people to take up the sport.

Second year criminology student and team chairwoman Flora Shepherd said: “Hopefully, people will come down and be inspired to give women’s rugby a go. Obviously they see it’s quite a terrifying thing on paper but in reality it’s just good fun.”

Kick off for the women’s game is at 5.30pm and the men start at 7pm. Tickets – price just £5 – are selling fast, with a crowd expected at the AJ Bell in the region of 5,000.

Interest in the women’s game is building quickly.

“Already this year’s been more successful than previously,” said Lizzie.

“We had more than 40 women training last week, with quite a split between people who have played before and people who hadn’t.”

You can hear Flora, Fanni and Lizzie talking about Friday’s game, as well as interviews with players from the men’s team and the thoughts of rugby head coach Rob Jones on the MMU Hive Live Sport radio show here: