BeRugby magazine for your rugby mad kids


Rachael Burford rugby camp
Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Amazing opportunity for rugby mad girls!

This August, grab the opportunity to train with England Rugby world cup winner Rachael Burford, who will be coaching her Summer Rugby Day Camps for girls in Kent, Surrey and Sussex/Hampshire. The Burford Academy camps are aimed at girls of all levels of skill and experience between the ages of 7-18. Attendees have the opportunity to build new friendships whilst developing their skills and confidence both on and off the pitch, all under the guidance of some of the nation’s top female international Rugby players. 

Rachael, who has become one of the first women in English history to become a full time professional rugby player, will deliver these camps personally alongside her team of experienced coaches. Guest appearances from fellow international players are to include the likes of Katy Daley Mclean (England No:10), Nolli Waterman – (Formerly England No:15), Rocky Clark (England No:1) and Fran Matthews (Formerly England No:14).

Rachael Burford rugby camp

This Summer’s camps will be held as follows:

Surrey –  13th August Old Surbitonians Memorial Ground

Sussex and Hampshire – 15th August Hove Recreation Ground

Kent – 20th August at St Marks Recreation Ground


There are only 25 places in each age group so if you want to get muddy with the champions this Summer, book your space up now via


In Rachael’s own words, founding TWELVE ( and the BURFORD ACADEMY is her attempt to give back to a game that has given her so much over the years. Inspiring others (especially the next generation) to not only fall in love with the sport she holds dear, but to learn from her unique insight into teamwork, achievement, and the value of pursuing one’s dreams.


Facebook: @burfordacademy


(We will be at the Kent rugby camp. We can’t wait to get down and support the future of women’s rugby! let us know if you will be there?)

Rugby captain
Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Is your child a potential leader?

Written by Gordon MacLelland

How important is the role of a captain in children’s sport and do coaches take the opportunity to help develop some of the skills required in order for young people to develop and become leaders later on?  Do coaches when handing over the role really give away the responsibility and allow the freedom for their captains to express themselves?

I remember a school cricket game many years ago when a new cricket coach into our establishment (a former professional player) managed their first U13 game.  With not long to go the 1st XI were in real danger of losing a home game, something that had not happened for a while.  The field positions were wrong and he was not acting.  What was he doing?  Why had he not spoken to the captain? Why had he not moved some players as many U13 coaches would do?  Could he not see the score board and the danger of losing?

These were all comments made from fellow coaches and parents on the side of the pitch.

I spoke to him afterwards and I will never forget the conversation.  He merely said, ‘how can we expect them to learn if they do not make the decision for themselves?’ ‘I will speak to the captain this week and the team and we will talk about what has happened.  It will be a far more powerful lesson that they have lost the game and the next time they find themselves in that situation, hopefully a few of them will recognise it and make far better decisions.’

I later saw that side get into a similar situation later in the year and the same mistake did not happen again but not only did the captain act so did another 4 or 5 players.  Great leadership from the coach, great learning from the players and the loss had led to so many valuable lessons being learnt by the players as opposed to adults bailing them out to gain a short-term victory.

I am writing this blog opposite an old school friend and we are just talking about our own sporting experiences.   Neither of us as players had any interest in being a captain, were never asked to be a captain and we felt we had enough to worry about with our own games than worrying about other people.

In a lot of children’s sport the role of captain is certainly less important than the role when children reach the teenage years and enter into adulthood.  Most coaches carry out a large number of the roles required in the early years along with supporting parents.

Many captains who appear in children’s sport can often be seen to be simply the best player, regardless of whether they display many of the character traits assumed with such a role.  As a coach working with 13 year olds over the last 10 years, with hindsight I believe I have appointed 5 great captains and 5 very average ones.  What was it I was looking for?

Even if I knew what I was looking for, why did some carry out the role far better than the rest?  Is there a magic formula?

It is pleasing to see that many clubs at grassroots level simply rotate their captain around giving a different child an opportunity each week.  It gives a child confidence, gives them something to look forward to and gives them a taste of what it perhaps may feel like in the future.

As they grow older however when should we really start to be looking at these potential leaders?

I welcome any thoughts from coaches and parents on when you feel this should be, when this occurs and what can we do as coaches and parents to really help them understand their roles and responsibilities to the rest of the group?

Being a captain isn’t just about wearing the cap or being the boss or even just cheering your friends on. It requires a number of other traits.

Rugby Dylan Hartley

England Captain Dylan Hartley lifts the Six Nations trophy. Credit Patrick Khachfe – onside images

Does your child display any of the following?

  • the desire to lead by example
  • a passionate belief in team spirit
  • the ability to handle the conflicts that invariably arise when a team is under pressure
  • the desire to put more input in planning the team’s strategies
  • the ability to handle problems which may arise in a fair and expedient manner
  • the ability to behave professionally and responsibly despite personal feelings of frustration and anger
  • a thorough knowledge of the rules of the game
  • a desire to build relationships with other members of the team, in good times and bad
  • the ability to handle the burden of being captain while still playing in the team
  • the ability to inspire and motivate and raise team morale

If your child does gain this coveted role or displays many of the above, how can you as a parent help support them in doing the best job that they can?  Being a sports team captain is a great opportunity for them to develop the leadership traits that will help them succeed in their future career, whether this is as a sports athlete or in another field of work.

How can you as a parent help them provide good leadership?

  • Encourage them to take charge – not just rely on the coaches. For example, encourage them to start the warm ups on time, even if the coaches are still getting ready or temporarily occupied elsewhere.
  • Encourage them to do more than is expected – stay longer, help put equipment away, take the time to talk to other players and coaches.
  • Encourage them to take responsibility for their actions – don’t play the blame game.  They will be respected far more than if they make lots of excuses.
  • Get them to lead with actions, not words. Anybody can talk – it is what they do that counts.
  • Don’t allow them to elevate themselves above the rest of the team – just because they have the captain title does not mean that they should have any preferential treatment.

A sports team captain is subject to the same rules and consequences as the rest of the team.

If your child has yet to be a captain and they would like to be then encourage them to be self-aware and improve their leadership skills.

There are many great leaders in many sports teams around the world who never gain the coveted role but are excellent in their own right both on and off the field.

If your child needs encouragement, get them to think about the captains of various sports teams in the international arena and consider why they were chosen – was it because they are popular? The best player? Responsible? Honest? Dependable? A good listener? Motivating and inspiring? Remain calm and positive under pressure?

Some children are not cut out to be captains but they should all be given the opportunity by coaches and parents to develop some of the character skills through their sport associated with such a role.

(Thanks to Gordon MacLelland of WWPIS. Check out more great articles at


Yorkshire Carnegie rugby
Latest News & Articles

Recycle Possession with Yorkshire Carnegie Community

Yorkshire Carnegie’s Community Team are delighted to announce the launch of Recycle Possession, a new county wide kit donation programme which aims to remove a barrier for people wanting to play rugby union. Recycle Possession will run throughout the season. The aim being that people can donate pre-loved kit which will then be distributed to those who are unable to access suitable clothing which allows them to participate in rugby.

Through our work across the county, we have found one consistent barrier to participation, both in schools and clubs, is the lack of appropriate kit and equipment particularly in the winter months. Recycle Possession hopes to be the solution to this problem.

One programme we hope will benefit from this is the award winning Project Rugby programme which we deliver across the county.  Developed by Premiership Rugby in conjunction with the RFU and delivered by 14 professional clubs, this community participation initiative is designed to increase participation in the game by people from traditionally underrepresented groups: Black Asian & Minority Ethnic people, people from Lower Socio-Economic backgrounds and disabled people.Yorkshire Carnegie rugby

Community Programme Manager, Kristian Sharples highlighted how important this programme could be in creating playing opportunities, “It’s not just the physical aspect of giving participants appropriate kit which means they can then safely take part in rugby. It can have a really profound impact on young peoples’ confidence and self-esteem to have some boots or a shirt that they can keep and make their own.

I am really excited about this project. Rugby should be accessible to all and we hope that the wider community will get behind it and support our aim to reduce the barriers to participation.”
The Yorkshire Carnegie Championship Squad members have already been recycling some items of their own, including Sam Allan who has also worked closely with the Community Team on Project Rugby over the last couple of years. “This is a fantastic programme and having coached on Project Rugby, I can really see how it will benefit people. It is great to be able to give something back to the wider community game in this way.”

Recycle Possession will run throughout the 2018/19 season with several ways for individuals and groups to donate. All clean shirts, boots, shorts and further rugby equipment are most welcome. There will be drop off locations at several of our Affiliated Clubs and Schools. There will also be opportunities to donate at all community events including Summer Camps, matchdays and festivals. The team will also be available to come and collect donations from clubs.

For information on Recycle Possession or to arrange a donation visit please contact 

Latest News & Articles, Youth Rugby

Book now – Awesome summer rugby camps at London Irish RFC!

Rugby Summer Camps PosterThe London Irish community team are now taking bookings for their ever-popular summer coaching camps which begin in August. 

Designed for U7s–U14s, the camps will take place at eight locations across the region, offering participants a jam-packed rugby timetable and the opportunity to gain tips from professional rugby players during Q&A sessions. 


All camps include quality coaching from DBS cleared community coaches from 9.30am-3.30pm and participants will receive a free match ticket to an allocated home game with an accompanying full paying adult. 

“With the school holidays approaching, youngsters love to spend time with their friends and playing sports that they love really fits the bill for all the family – an involved child is a happy child,” said Andy Keast, head of community at London Irish.

“This is the perfect opportunity to cap off a great year for our rugby camps. We have had great numbers at each camp throughout the year and the summer camps are a good opportunity to get a head start before the season starts again.”

Rugby summer campsFor further enquiries email or call 01932 750100 and to book, head straight to



Rugby working with parents
Youth Rugby

The Silent Weekend’ – Is it natural? How about ‘A Noisy Weekend?

As an organisation we are asked many times to help support and promote the Silent Weekend, the Silent Sunday or indeed the Silent September.

We are often asked about how we feel about these events and our stance has always been that we love the concept and motivation behind running these but also feel that something needs to be done to help support the sporting parents on the side during the process.

These events are fantastic for raising awareness, but must also provide some positive channels for discussion and the opportunity for parents to understand why a certain type of support is more beneficial for their child’s development and enjoyment; this has not always been particularly well addressed.

In some quarters it has been seen as another opportunity to criticise and bash parents for displaying in what many ways are just normal human emotions.  Granted, some of these behaviours can be extremely misguided but what have we really done to address those beliefs?!

rugby with parentsThe issues that we face on the sidelines can be traced all the way back to Roman times.  Sport was always a release from the sterile nature of day to day life and an opportunity to let off some steam. People merely wanted to have fun when watching the gladiatorial games and in many ways sporting parents have continued this trend.

Life has become sterile for many and do we really want to take away the excitement for them watching their child play and being involved in sport?  Also, is silence a natural environment to be involved in in the first place?

Parents behave in a way that society perceives sport, the games they watch in stadiums or the matches they see on TV and merely fall into line with these environments when watching their children play.  It is not high on their agenda to be thinking about the ins and outs of sports coaching and child development.

That is the role for us as coaches and educators to help support them.

Sport is passion and we need to find new and engaging ways to support sporting parents and allow them to channel what quite frankly are normal emotions.  The weekend is a time for them to allow some of their passion out!

There is no doubt that local bragging rights can often be at stake and many poor behaviours are due to that fear of dented pride.

If that is the case ‘The Silent Weekend’ goes against all normal levels of human emotion and could we maybe try something a bit different that is far more natural and perhaps allow parents to adapt behaviours during the process.

Many parents are peaceable human beings (not all) who would be happy to be guided by clubs, coaches and other parents.

As a result, we all have a great responsibility to ensure the environments that we create are natural, but still crucially allow our children to flourish and develop.

So how does this sound as a concept? – We would love to hear your feedback.

‘The Noisy Weekend’ – parents are allowed to make as much noise as they want watching their children play, creating a wonderful atmosphere but we put against that the following set of guidelines:

1.  You must not shout any instructions to your child or any other player on your team.

2.  You must not shout anything aimed at the official.

3.  You may not shout at an opposition player but you may praise them if they did something well.

4.  You may not shout towards the opposition coach or parents.

5.  You can be as ‘Noisy’ as you wish following the guidelines above.

With our work on the sides of some grassroots matches we have witnessed some absolute crackers.  Great games, great support from the sidelines, huge ovations for both sets of players for putting on the most fantastic, entertaining game of sport.  It can be done, that lovely mix however can be difficult to find and requires all parties involved in that specific match to hold similar beliefs and approach the contest in the right way.

We are not claiming to have found the solution to the problems on the sidelines but is it worth us being creative, trying different things that raise awareness but crucially create environments that are natural, that allow everyone to flourish and allow everyone to look forward to their matches at the weekend.

Thanks to the guys at Working with Parents in Sport for providing this great article, Go check them out at for more fantastic tips and advice.


Nigel Owens rugby
Latest News & Articles

Nigel Owens: ‘The next best thing is refereeing’

You could argue that refereeing is one of the hardest jobs in the world, especially in rugby union were the rules are so complex and often see changes season after season.

One decision, whether right or wrong and the thousands of fans in the stadium will be on your back, you need to be able to hold your own.

However, on the other hand you get to be in amongst the action on the some of the biggest stages of them all, World Cup finals, Six Nations clashes, Champions Cup finals. you name it.

Nigel Owens, one of the most recognisable and arguably best referees in the world, admits that not everybody can handle the pressure.

“I think first of all, it is not for everybody,” said the Welshman who refereed the 2015 World Cup Final at Twickenham between New Zealand and Australia.

“People are not going to like you for your decisions, it is a role where people are not going to pat you on the back all the time, they are going to write opinions or shout opinions at you. You have got to be a certain type of person to do it”

Nigel Owen rugbyOwens believes that if you have got what it takes to be at the helm and take control of matches then being a referee comes second after being a professional player.

“On the field the next best thing is refereeing, to be part of those rugby occasions and to be part of the game is amazing,” he added.

The 46-year-old only started refereeing professionally when he was 30-years-old and believes that you shouldn’t become a referee to be a ‘celebrity’ but do it because of your love for the game.

“My advice would be, if you want to be a rugby referee you need to do it for the right reason,” said Owens, who oversaw two games at the 2018 Six Nations.

“Do it because you enjoy refereeing, you are passionate about rugby and you want to be a referee not because you think it will be a job and you will become a famous, well-known person because you are a referee.

“You need to start refereeing because it is an enjoyment and you enjoy it as a hobby and then if you are good at it, and the other opportunities come along for you to become a professional referee then even better, but make sure you start for the right reason.”

Rugby referees are treated with a lot more respect and spoke too by players in a much better fashion than football referees.

Rugby players address the referee as ‘sir’ and don’t give him abuse like in other sports, but when it when it comes to the knowing rules it is a very complicated role.

“I think there’s two things here, rugby referees style depends on how the game goes because the laws are so complex,” he added.

 “there is a lot of grey in rugby which means you have to use your refereeing ability to make a decision. So, refereeing the game itself, I would say is more difficult (than football),”

“Football is more difficult because of the the pressure that is on them from the fans in the stadium, from the managers and from the players, there isn’t the same respect value.

“I think it is different types of difficulties, it is probably more pressure for a football referee to deal with the off the field stuff than the actual decision making on the field.”

It has been suggested that football style back chat is starting to creep into the game of rugby, Owens admits that he has seen an increase of the trait but believes it is down to the referee in charge to stop it from happening.

“I think there is more back chat now, more players tend to come up to you and question your decisions or ask you to check things with the TMO, but I think that’s down to the referee then to be strict enough and say ‘look, this is not happening’, then they tend to respect that and it doesn’t happen.

“But, if you are a referee who allows that to happen, then it will happen in the game, I think there is a bit more of it, so you have got to keep your standards,” he said.

 (This awesome article was written by the brilliant young sports journalist Joel Pattison. Amazing feature photo courtesy of Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images.)

rugby kids
Youth Rugby

Is your praise having a positive or negative impact on your child or your players sport?

To add to the growing minefield for sports parents we have to ask the question about the amount and type of praise you are giving your children.  Does it have a positive or negative impact on their sporting performance?

There are a number of things that you need to think about.

How much praise is too much praise?

How often should you be praising your child?

Is some praise simply a waste of time?

Praise can take many different forms encompassing the following:

‘commend, express approval of, express admiration for, applaud, pay tribute to, speak highly of, eulogize, compliment, congratulate, celebrate, sing the praises of, praise to the skies, rave about, go into raptures about, heap praise on, wax lyrical about, say nice things about, make much of, pat on the back’

In any form of praise that we may consider giving our children we must use appropriate language.  A skilful use of language can directly increase self esteem and develop confidence whilst careless use of language can lead to low self esteem and a drop in confidence.

Why do we need to give any praise?  Well that is simple, praise can regulate and reinforce positive behaviour and character traits.

Praise must also be directional, ‘good work’ for example is a bit vague, meaningless and many children are not stupid and will often see phrases like this as just empty praise.  Can your praise allow them to reflect, are you in a position to give them some useful advice on what went well and what may require some further work?

In this day and age many parents over praise their children, as they believe that if they are not going to do it then who will?

Children can see right through this and often know that their parents are saying that quite simply because they are their parents rather than being based on any fact or actions.

Now in many cases I would hope that your child’s coaches would be doing this part of the job for you with their praise and feedback, allowing you to play a predominantly supporting role but it is still good to be armed with some appropriate tools.

Learning to praise appropriately, is an important part of developing a child’s confidence and raising a high performer. Here are some helpful tips:


  • It allows you to praise both failure and success.
  • Focusing on the effort instead of the outcome keeps you present with the children in their struggle, holding their hand and even carrying them at times.
  • It makes you a partner in the process and allows your children to give their attention to the journey and not the destination.
  •  Praising effort prevents us from being so focused on the prize that we forget what got our child there in the first place.
  •  Foremost, high performers are all about the process, and the process is all about effort.


  • Your praise should come in the form of encouragement for your child and should be specific, clear, and focused on the process.
  • “Good job today” is nice, but it’s not action, effort, or goal-specific
  • On the other hand, “You’ve worked really hard in training on that piece of skill and it was great to see it used so well today.  That is the first time it has really worked in a match situation. This encourages your child for his/her effort, perseverance, progress, and competence.
  • It activates your child on multiple levels and sets the stage for further improvement, additional goal setting, and continued improvement.
  • Avoid over-praising your child. We have all met the ‘over-praiser’, the parents who are afraid that their child’s self-esteem will suffer if they are not encouraged and praised for every outcome, however, this is not true.
  • Over-praising your child can be a negative on two fronts. First, children can become apathetic to praise, since they hear it all the time. You will run out of superlatives and be unable to discern real achievement from the everyday norm.
  • Second, kids are smart, and they soon catch on if everything they do is “fantastic” or “brilliant” or “awesome.” It’s not, and your kids eventually know a good performance from a bad one.
  • They will grow cynical to your words if everything is incredible.


  • Avoid “over-praising” your child by comparing him/her to others.   You should not be comparing or making your child better by criticising team mates or opponents.
  • This not only can cause a fixed mindset, but it is very destructive of team dynamics.
  • Even if they are the best player on the team and you consistently tell them that, the world is a big place and these comparisons can have long term implications once the player pool changes and your child is no longer the best player.


  • Some players respond to sarcastic comments made at opportune times, but such comments are not appropriate before, during, or after an event or game.
  • All sarcasm has a hint of truth, and young children are so emotional that it is very difficult to know if it will go over well.
  • Sarcasm does not go down particularly well from parents.  It is best to find other ways to encourage and motivate your children.

As we have said many times before on this site, sports parenting can be tough and does require some reflection and practise.  Try some of the above, if you feel something that you have said has not had the desired effect or has indeed had a negative outcome then be brave enough to admit you may have got it wrong, think it through and then try a different approach the next time… one is perfect!

(Great blog courtesy of Working with Parents in Sport. Check out even more fantastic articles at


Rugby Mum
BeRugby Blog

The life of a rugby mum episode 11

Rugby mum

Happy birthday to our awesome rugby mum!

Apologies for my recent absence, life has been pretty manic over the last weeks, my birthday was just the start of the manicness (is that even a word?) and I mention it because I was at a rugby festival at our club for most of the day, my rugby family came up trumps!  One of my fellow rugby Mum’s made me a birthday cake, the Under 10’s sang Happy Birthday to me under the posts and my Godfather got the welcome I knew he would from our Chair and First Team Captain! Epic day, I loved it!  This was phase one of busy times I won’t bore you with the rest!

Skipping forward a bit now!  As some of you may already know I have three kids and my eldest has Cerebral Palsy and hates rugby!  Well it would seem he has changed his mind – he had found a passion for wheelchair rugby!  He’d mentioned he wanted to play so I contacted our local club and we were invited to go and watch the National Championships at Medway. We’ve been to watch wheelchair rugby in the past and I knew he’d jump at the chance, as did my ‘rugby dude’!  What I wasn’t expecting was for both of them to be invited to go and play at the Junior National Championships in June at Stoke Mandeville to help form a Barbarian team.  More logistical planning for me to do!

 I will bring you news of the event once we have been – some fun off season stuff!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the whole thing, only the Saturday morning, but this meant that we got to watch our local team play, Canterbury Hellfire.

Rugby mumThis is going to feel a bit odd for us as Canterbury Hellfire are affiliated to Canterbury RFC our local rivals in rugby!  I will have one boy with one team and the other with our local team – mixed feelings on that one at the moment especially as we are most definitely part of the Ashford RFC family. Isaac was not impressed at the idea, still two very different forms of rugby even if they are both as brutal!

One thing that did strike me was the camaraderie, the ethos and the welcome – a rugby welcome!  Players that had never met us made us feel welcome and chatted to me and the boys – my biggest boy was being welcomed into a sporting ‘family’ a ‘rugby family’!

 The guys were great and I’d like to thank them all for inspiring my dude, he realises he can achieve whatever he wants to achieve and his wheels won’t stop him.  Yes I had a moment! 

 Unfortunately (I think!) Canterbury Hellfire didn’t win the championship, a team called Crash did and funnily enough it was a couple of their players that had chatted to us during our visit – so a big shout out to Stuart and ‘the other guy’ – I can’t remember his name and I only remember Stuart’s because there was three of them!  Maybe they’re all called Stuart?!

 Anyway, I digress, big shout out to some fab guys for taking time to talk to my boys and inspire my dude and most importantly congratulations on winning the trophy.

Rugby mumHere’s Stuart with the trophy! I’m just going to call them all Stuart, I’m rubbish with names anyway!

With only two weeks left of rugby season I can see me having my time taken up with a different form of rugby over the summer!  Next week is a tournament followed by the rugby club ball and awards ceremony!  I’ll let you know how that goes!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Steph Hanratty rugby
Latest News & Articles

The BeRugby Big Interview – England’s gold medal winner, Steph Hanratty

We met Steph a few months back at a festival at Bury St Edmunds RFC where she kindly agreed to do an interview for BeRugby. After numerous emails and social media messages we finally met up in a little coffee shop in Chelmsford and got to chat.

Steph plays for England Deaf Rugby and Wymondham Ladies and she coaches at Bury St Edmonds RFC. She also plays numerous other sports, has two children Cobey and Bailey, and a job at a pre school near her. One busy rugby mum!

Steph Playing for England Deaf Rugby

BeRugby Magazine – Great to meet you Steph. Let’s get straight to it. How did you get into rugby?

Steph Hanratty – I first started as the football season was finishing and I wanted something to keep me fit. A friend of mine said to come to rugby training so I thought I would give it a go. I was so nervous especially when my friend didn’t even turn up!

BRM – Do you still play any other sports as well as rugby?

SH – I still play football for Walsham le Willows. I used to play basketball for England Dev but had to give it up after I had surgery for a hole in my heart.

BRM – Wow, sorry to hear that. It doesn’t appear to have stopped you!

SH – Unfortunately I had to stop sport for 2 years but have played sport and kept fit ever since.

BRM – So how did you get into deaf rugby?

SH – I was chatting to my friend Sophie from BSE over dinner and she suggested it. I emailed Gina Iaquaniello (the team manager) and she invited me along to a session. That was January 2017 and I have been training and playing ever since. My first game was against Devon on Mother’s Day 2017.

BRM – A lot of people won’t have heard about England Deaf Rugby so can you tell us more?

SH – Most of us play for club sides and then meet up and train with the England deaf team once a month at Bromsgrove RFC in Birmingham. This month we are off to play in a deaf rugby 7’s tournament in Australia!

BRM – So you play in deaf and non-deaf teams. How does deaf rugby differ?

SH – Some would say being deaf would hold me back, but it doesn’t. It probably holds my non-deaf teammates back more when they struggle to communicate with me. Sometimes it’s my fault for not telling people straight away that I am deaf as it can be hard to tell. I am an excellent lip reader, so people may not notice straight away. My advice to any deaf readers is to just put your hand up straight away and say you are deaf and then your team mates and others know. Then just keep doing what you are doing as you are not different.

BRM – How does England deaf rugby compare with your club sides?

SH – They are all awesome, but the coaches at England Deaf do some things slightly differently.  For instance, there is a sign language interpreter there and when the coaching team give talks they will get everyone in a horseshoe shape so that everyone can see them 

BRM – What has been your favourite game to play in?

SH – Funnily enough it was probably my last counties game against Oxfordshire even though we lost! The vibe was great, and we just kept going. It was a close game, but our heads never went down. We didn’t give up and totally should have won.

BRM – Who is the best player you have played with or against.

SH – All the girls I play with are great, but Libby Lockwood is probably one of the best. I play with her at Wymondham. She is so versatile and can play anywhere from 8 to the centres. She reads the game well and gets loads of interceptions. Oh, and she is lovely!

BRM – Do you have any pre-match rituals?

SH – It’s not really a pre-match ritual but I have to wear odd socks. I can’t deal with matching pairs. I also listen to a lot of Blink 182 and my daughter Bailey comes to most of my games. She gives me great advice like “As long as you try your best its good enough for me. But if you score a try it will be better”

BRM – Awesome advice! What do you eat before a big game?

SH – I carb up the day before playing. Generally something like sweet potato and chicken. On the day I like peanut butter and banana on toast.

BRM – You are organising the club tour. Where do you go and why?

SH – Cornwall for the sun and the surf. Its also great fun and relaxed. Camping, rugby and BBQ’s what more do you need?

Steph Hanratty rugby

Steph on the break for England Deaf Rugby

BRM – OK quick-fire round. Who is your favourite player?

SH – Brian O’Driscoll.

BRM – Favourite team?

SH – Saracens women.

BRM – Favourite food?

SH – Sweet potato chips.

BRM – Favourite band?

SH – Blink 182.

BRM – Favourite film?

SH – Pretty woman.

BRM – Favourite holiday?

SH – Any activity holiday. Biking, canyoning etc.

BRM – What one word would you use to describe rugby?

SH – Family.

BRM – Great thanks! Finally, what piece of advice would you give to our rugby mad readers?

SH – Always strive to be your best. If you are better at something than others in your team, help them improve and the whole team will benefit. The better a team player you are, the better a person you become.


Steph’s fact file

Born – 14th September 1982. Southwark in London.

Position – Wing/Outside Centre

Height – 1.58m

Weight – 59kg

Current teams – Wymondham RFC, Eastern Counties, England Deaf.

Many thanks to Steph for taking the time to chat to us. Since this interview she has gone on to win gold with the England Women’s Deaf Rugby Team at the first ever World Deaf Rugby Games in Australia! Huge congratulations to her and the rest of the team. England Deaf Men’s narrowly lost in the final but still took home the silver!


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Check out this awesome Canterbury rugby stash!

As you are probably aware we love a stash review and the brilliant guys at kit giants Canterbury were kind enough to provide us with some of their current England stash to check out.

We like to be fair when we try products out and we have to say that Canterbury kit is quality stash. It’s not cheap but it’s tough, long lasting and you get a lot for your pound. So here is what we tested.

England Thermoreg quarter zip Top, £58, available from

Ideal for the spring evenings. This lightweight top is just right to wear over a t-shirt on your way to the club. The make quality is excellent and the zips on the front and pockets are tough. We do like the alternative yellow as it’s a little bit different, however it is also available in red. Warm in the wind but light enough to wear during a spring sunny spell (if we get one) this is our favourite bit of stash.

England rugby

England Thermoreg quarter zip Top, £58.


England Vapodri+ pro SS Training Jersey, £58, available from

Again, we trialled it in the yellow, which we really like as an alternative to the red. This top is very comfortable and is thicker than a t-shirt but not as heavy as a jumper. Perfect for the run in to summer. A nice bit of stash for casual clubhouse use.

England Vapodri Polyknit Pant, £40, available from

With all these great tops you will be needing an awesome pair of tracky bottoms. These are soft and comfortable for lounging around at home or running around the park. What more can we say? Need some tracksuit bottoms? Get these.


Thermoreg technology encourages thermal regulation, ideal for cold training sessions on the field

VapoDri features throughout the range, designed to wick moisture away from the body and maintain core temperature throughout gruelling workouts.

England rugby

England Vapodri+ Pro SS Training Jersey, £58

England rugby

England Vapodri Polyknit Pant, £40.


Love Sevens? Then Canterbury have you covered.

Rugby clothing and kit provider Canterbury has revealed the new England Sevens kit. The kit will be worn for the first time in Hong Kong and then throughout the remainder of the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

To help push the players to the top of their game and ensure they excel on the pitch, the new kit features Canterbury’s pioneering fabric technology including, VapoDri, Canterbury’s own technology allowing the user to train harder for longer. With advanced wicking properties, sweat evaporation is boosted, allowing the garment to dry extremely quickly.

England rugbyaesthetic design of the new shirt has been inspired by the disruptive and dynamic style of the England Sevens teams and sevens as a sport, combined with the tradition of England Rugby. The white home jersey features the St George’s cross in dark grey and bright pink, while the alternate jersey features the pattern in bright pink, a traditional symbol utilised in a new, fresh iteration to appeal to fans.

Commenting on the launch of the new range, Simon Rowe, Head of Sports Marketing at Canterbury of New Zealand, said: “We’re very proud of the latest design of the 2018 England Sevens kit. We continue to push the boundaries with our continually evolving innovative technologies which ensure that every player is able to perform to the best of their ability and improve themselves both as individuals and as a team.”

Tom Mitchell, England Sevens captain, commented: “As a player, you feel an immense sense of pride when you put on the England shirt to represent your country and you want to be at your absolute best. It gives us real confidence knowing we are wearing the best possible kit and we look forward to wearing this new kit as we represent England at the Rugby World Cup Sevens this year.”

England Sevens women’s player, Abbie Brown, added: “It’s a big year for sevens, culminating in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July, and every time we pull on the shirt we want to give it our all. Every player in the squad is proud to represent England, put on the jersey and wear the rose.”

The new England Sevens kit is available to buy now in sizes S-4XL at and