Image of the Chester Women Rugby Union team.

Deva women shine bright under England Rugby spotlight

Image of the Chester Women Rugby Union team.
Chester Women RUFC team at the England Rugby Treatment Day event (Photo: England Rugby)

By Luke Birch

Chester RUFC women’s team received world-wide attention at a home game against Eccles.

The game was played in-front of TV cameras, which streamed the game to over 1,000 people on the England Rugby YouTube channel.

Former England Women’s Rugby World Cup-winning captain Gill Burns attended the match.

She said: “It is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for these girls.

“I heard some of them talking earlier, saying ‘we are going to be on the telly’.

“It is streamed, people can watch it from the other side of the world. It empowers women to think, ‘I can do that’.”

The England Rugby Twitter and Instagram accounts also featured clips and updates from the game.

Sabrina McGill, Women and Girls Lead at Chester RUFC, said: “It has given us a reach that we would have never have achieved on our own.

“Chester was chosen because of the pathway that we have from girls to women, and to broaden rugby union’s reach outside of London, capturing the north.

“The players have all seen themselves (on the Instagram page), they are all sharing it. Their group chat has gone berserk, I have had to put it on mute.”

McGill also works on the competitions team at England Rugby.

Chester Devas’ England Rugby Treatment Day was a part of the RFU’s Play Together Stay Together campaign, which aims to help rugby clubs to gain and retain players.

McGill said: “You make friends for life. I am still friends with girls that I played Rugby with 25 years ago, that is amazing.”

Chris Quince-Black, Coach for Chester Devas said: “We have close links with the RFU. They suggested that we find a local team to play against and we could pick-up some facilities that England could offer to us.

“We have not experienced this before as part of the women’s team at Chester.”

Chester Devas won the friendly game 56-5, thanks in-part to Player of the Match, Ella Wylie, who has recovered twice from ACL injuries in her short career.

Wylie said: “I was really nervous. I was not sure I wanted to play, because I feel like I play worse in-front of cameras but clearly not today. I just love playing.

“I am hopefully going to university soon and to play at a higher level.”

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