Author: Liam Dickson
GEMS WSO are confident that their recent success in the DASSA Touch Rugby Finals will inspire more girls to give the sport a go.
Both the girl’s U15s and U19s teams triumphed at last week’s finals.
The U15s defeated Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) 5-1, whilst the U19s also overcame DESC, winning 3-2 after a golden try.
And Hannah Carey, who coaches both teams as well as the U13s, couldn’t be happier with their performance, and is hopeful that the victories will be the catalyst for more young girls to take up the sport.
She said: “I am elated for the girls as their victory shows them that hard work, determination and team work really does pay off. It also shows the U13 team – who are just starting out – what they can achieve if they continue to grow as a team over the next few years.
“Girls touch and contact rugby is one of – if not the – fastest growing sport in Dubai at the moment, and hopefully the successes of our teams will inspire more girls within the academy to try their hand at the sport.”
It is a sentiment shared by both captains: Hannah Magee of the U15s and Brittney Sweetapple of the U19s.
Magee said: “I think it will [inspire more girls].
“This means we are now the best school in Dubai for touch rugby and the achievement will push us as a team to be even better next year.”
Sweetapple said: “I hope that by seeing the success of the squad and the family we have created, other girls will be inspired to become part of our team and can share the love we have for touch.”
Both teams came into the finals having missed out on a place in the last two in 2017, and for Sweetapple, the victory was particularly meaningful as it was the last shot for her and her teammates:
“Personally, this achievement has been a long time coming. I’ve been playing and working alongside some of these girls for 4 years and with this being my last year at WSO and my last opportunity to compete with the girls, winning was an immense achievement for both myself and the team and a spectacular way to end my school touch career,” she said.
“It was the proudest and happiest moment of my life.”
For Magee and the U15s, this year’s triumph was the perfect way to put to bed the disappointment of last year.
She said: “Last year we were unbeaten in the run-up to the finals but lost to Sunmarke.
“It felt great that all our hard work had paid off.”
And for Carey, she believes that the success is proof that the continued efforts to grow the rugby programme is on the right track.
She added: “For the academy, we have put a lot of time in to develop both our touch and contact rugby programmes over the last couple of years, and although it is definitely not all about the winning, it is these kind of wins that show us that we are developing in the right direction.”