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West Ham women’s rugby club gets finance injection

Members of the rugby club which is now looking to recruit more players after it gained sponsorship from RBS. Members of the rugby club which is now looking to recruit more players after it gained sponsorship from RBS.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
5:33 PM

A women’s rugby club set up just last year is hoping to attract more players from east London after receiving a cash boost.

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The East London Women’s Rugby Club, which is based in West Ham, has received sponsorship from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The club, which has 25 members, is coached by England international Fiona Pocock and has a particular focus on promoting equality in sport.

It was started in 2012 and is run by Dave Thomas, chairman of The East London Woman’s Rugby Football Club. It shares its ground with its male counterpart, East London Rugby Club. The club has long been connected with promoting equality in sport and giving back to the community and was the base of the world’s first openly gay and bisexual friendly rugby team – The Kings Cross Steelers.

Interest in women’s rugby has gained momentum in recent years and it is one of the fastest growing participation sports in the country.

The RFU, governing body of rugby union in England, says that more than 13,500 women and girls now play ruby regularly – an 87 per cent increase since 2004. With women’s rugby confirmed as an Olympic event for 2016, the club is hoping to help grow the game’s popularity among young women in the heart of London. The money from RBS will be used to buy new equipment and help promote the side as well as raise awareness of the game among the local community.

Fiona Pocock, head coach at the club, said: “I jumped at the chance to work with Dave and coach the girls here. It is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the funding from RBS. The main focus for us right now is to grow the club’s numbers, to give the chance to women from all walks of life, from right here in West Ham.”

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