Leeds Rhinos Foundation encouraging more girls to play sport ahead of International Women’s Day

Sunday 8th March marks International Women’s Day, with a theme Each for Equal. Leeds Rhinos Foundation, the official charity of Leeds Rhinos, is helping to make opportunities for girls to play Rugby League equal by supporting school and club rugby through their Rugby League Development Plan.

In the week leading up to International Women’s Day, Leeds Rhinos Foundation ran their Girls Indoor Touch Final at Farnley Academy.  The tournament saw over 30 girls from the Farnley, Bruntcliffe Academy, Abbey Grange and Corpus Christi compete in the round robin event. 

The Finals were led by Leeds Rhinos Women and Girl’s rugby development Shannon Lacey, who also plays for Leeds Rhinos Women and made her England debut last year.  The teams have also had coaching from new Rhinos Women’s Coach, Lois Forsell, who heads up the development work for women and girls at Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

Speaking after the event, Lacey said: “I think it’s massive for girls to get involved in sport, especially with International Women’s Day coming up. It’s not just the health benefits that you get from taking part in sport but it’s the idea of being a part of a team. The 2021 World Cup is coming up so we’re just trying to get as many girls involved in rugby as possible.

“I think there’s so much more now available for girls to get involved in rugby now. When I was in school, it was just Lois that was coming into schools and now across the board, there is a lot more on offer now with the girls and the women and it’s showing just how big it’s getting. 

“We’d like to say a massive thank you to Mears for how passionate they’ve been in supporting the development of the Women’s game. They’ve been really supportive of the Women’s team as well as work in the community and we’re really grateful for everything that they do for us.”

Abbie King, a teacher of Physical Education at Farnley Academy talked about how the work Lacey and Forsell are doing is inspiring her students to get involved in sport and rugby league.

“It is really tricky to get girls involved in sport sometimes,” she said. “They can lack motivation but having inspiring people coming into school, having the different teams doing so well and even just coming to promote the sessions is getting more girls involved and that’s fantastic.

“Shannon has been amazing, she’s really motivational to the girls and really supportive of them. She’s able to come down and train the girls and really inspire them to want to do more. It’s great to have Leeds Rhinos come down and help, support and train our girls and for the students to have such an inspiring team, they feel engaged and motivated to move on and go further. Because of that, I’ve seen a much bigger uptake in rugby with the girls at our school.”

To find out more about what Leeds Rhinos Foundation does for Women’s sport, click here or email [email protected].

Want to start playing rugby at a community club?

There are so many ways for girls around Leeds to start playing rugby league at community clubs.

Find the contact details for your local women’s/girls teams below:

West Leeds Girls contact Donna Tobitt 07766556828 or [email protected]

Farnley Falcons contact Jonny Adams on 07743900239 or [email protected]

Stanningley Girls contact Nick Norfolk on 0113 2560 847 or [email protected]

Oulton Raidettes contact Ash Bond 07584131197 or [email protected]

East Leeds Girls contact Glenn Swailes on 07917674558 or [email protected]

South Leeds Spartans contact Joanne Harrison-Lee on 07708116963 or [email protected]

Drighlington Girls contact Nath Larvin on 07572420407 or [email protected]

Hunslet Warriors Girls contact Nicola Walker on 07983535315 or [email protected]

Headingley Hawks contact Cath Conboy on 07919400509 or [email protected]

Shawcross Sharks Girls ARLFC Contact Andrew Fawkes on [email protected]

Batley Boys contact Tina Alcock on [email protected]

Whinmoor Warriors contact Amie Backhouse on 07716204394 or  [email protected]

Dewsbury Moor contact Steve Weston [email protected]  or Claire Berry [email protected]