Former England international Kim Oliver and Wales prop Caryl Thomas admitted they snapped at the chance to participate in Bath Rugby’s International Women’s Day celebration at the Rec on Sunday.
The event aimed to showcase the women's game as part of Premiership Rugby's new Rugby4All programme, which is backed by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to promote diversity and equality in rugby.
And the day proved a huge success with around 40 girls aged 11-18 participating in the morning coaching session, led by Thomas and World Cup winner Sarah Hunter.
Thomas revealed her decision to join in with the day’s activities and provide the girls with some pearls of wisdom was a real no-brainer.
“Days like today are absolutely vital, it’s a big thing for the girls to actually see role models in the rugby community,” she explained.
“Sometimes rugby clubs can have just six or seven women at the club and may be struggling to get a full 15.
“So when they come and see other girls from different teams playing rugby, they understand that rugby’s not just at their local club, there’s opportunities on a national level and they could play at Twickenham one day.”
The Rugby 4All programme aims to increase the number of women and girls involved in the sport, to provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups.
EHRC is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It is an independent body responsible for protecting and promoting equality and human rights in Great Britain.
It aims to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and promote and protect human rights.
The grant awarded to Premiership Rugby is part of a £2 million investment from the Government through EHRC into programmes to encourage more women and girls to take part in rugby, to provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among BME groups.
And Oliver, who held an informative interview session with the girls after the coaching, believes the Rec was the perfect setting for the celebration.
“For a lot of young girls this their first chance to play in such an iconic stadium and you could hear the buzz when they were walking in,” the 31-year-old former Test centre said.
“It was such a great opportunity on International Women’s day to help the girls find out what we all love about rugby and why we’re involved. The more this happens, the more women’s rugby will grow.”