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How did I become a real rugby mum?

Thank you to the team at BeRugby Mag for trusting me and letting me loose on their blog. My name is Nima Suchak, and while I have been a pitch-side mumsy cheerleader for the last seven years, unlike some of the real rugby pundits at BRM Towers, I’m still ‘learning on the job’.

 My son has been playing for Syston RFC since he was  five, and is now in the U12s. My daughter is 10, and has been playing for Leicester Tigers Swifts for the past year (I’ll fill you in on what she’s doing another week!).

 It’s Saturday evening, and we’ve just watched England devour Italy in the Six Nations 2019. In all the euphoria, I’ve made a mental note to check that my son’s boots and mouth guard are in his kit bag…it’s an early start at the Club tomorrow.

But I have to admit, while rugby has become a massive part of our lives, it was never on the books for us. We are not a sporty family, and have hardly paid any passing attention to the game, but now it dominates our weekends!

Having moved from London to Leicester, it was clear to see the real action here was around rugby. As a parent, I knew the value of competitive sports, and ideally wanted my children to be involved in something that would be good for their personal growth. My cousin plays cricket for the County, and evidently sports did a lot for him. Beside being conscious of healthy eating and exercise, sports has kept him out of trouble. He couldn’t spend too much time on consoles or hang around on the streets looking for entertainment. There was always training and matches to attend. What stood out for me most was that sports gave him another set of people to look out for him, and look up to—a great set of friends, coaches and other like-minded parents.

So, once my son turned five, on a warm Autumn Sunday morning, we rocked up at Syston RFC, with little idea of what to expect. This was our first experience of a rugby club in action, and knew absolutely nothing about what it might entail.

It was indeed, a shock to the system. Was I prepared for the cold, the mud, or the time invested? No, not one bit. But what did drive me was the promise of rugby being a gentlemen’s game. I was rightly convinced that rugby would be good for him.

Being new to the culture of rugby there have naturally been moments when I’ve questioned if what I was doing was right. My ‘then’ gentle and very academic five-year-old boy would much rather have been snuggled at home, nose-in-book. He seemed unsure, almost frightened. I watched him like a hawk, cheering him on, encouraging him to step out of his comfort zone. There were times that we drove all the way to the club on a Sunday, and he refused to join in. I’m embarrassed to admit that one day I actually interrupted Manu Tuilagi and Logovi’i Mulipola in Costa while they were in mid-conversation to get their autographs to encourage my son!

The turning point for my lad was in his second season when he started to make friends at the Club. Putting the actual rugby playing aside, it’s what happened off pitch that made the difference. It was as simple as having hot chips and a fizzy drink in the clubhouse, climbing trees, building dens or sitting together chatting about video games.

Now, seven years on, I’m pleased to say sticking to rugby at Syston RFC has been one of the best choices we have made. The Club and the friendly value-based culture of rugby has been nothing but positive for my son, even at the most challenging of times.

 I know some might say I was wrong to coax a five-year-old into a sport he cared so little about, but checking that he was always happy, growing in confidence in a fantastic environment can’t be bad, can it?  

Latest Rugby News & Articles

Win over £200 worth of awesome rugby gear!

Competition Time!

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Check out their great website at


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All you need to do is grab a copy of our March issue and answer the simple question inside. Available in main high street WHSmiths, Tesco and Asda or get a copy delivered straight to your door by clicking HERE

Email your name, age, address and phone number to along with your answer to the competition. Closing dates for entries is 23:59 on the 31st March 2019. Only one entry per household allowed.


Latest Rugby News & Articles

Sport proves to be invaluable for building young women’s confidence

  • 92% of young women gain new-found confidence through playing sport, with 87% of parents and teachers seeing the same effects in young people as a whole
  • Over half of young women (57%) believe social media affects their self-esteem yet 93% of young women also agree that playing sport has had a positive impact on their self-esteem
  • 79% of young women want to see more female role models in sport

 On International Women’s Day, Gallagher — community insurance broker, title partner of Premiership Rugby and now official partner of Project Rugby — has unveiled new research that proves playing sport has a positive impact on young women’s confidence and self-esteem. 

The UK-wide survey found 92% of young women (aged 14 to 18) have developed greater self-confidence through playing sport while 93% agreed it had also boosted their self-esteem. The same positive impact of sport was noticed by parents and teachers, with 87% agreeing they have seen the same effect.

Wanting to improve their confidence and well-being was also the second most common reason, given by young women aged 14 to 18 taking part in the survey, for getting involved in sport in the first place, after seeking to improve fitness. 

To further bolster this positive participation effect, both young women (79%) and their teachers (84%) believe more female role models are needed in sport, and that professional sportswomen are a key factor in introducing and encouraging new participants to play sport. 

To help launch the research, Gallagher introduced Women’s Player’s Player of the Year 2018, Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman, as the company’s new brand ambassador. With an impressive career spanning over 15 years, including 82 international caps, Nolli is well placed to communicate the values, skills and life lessons that rugby teaches.

The survey findings and ambassadorship coincide with Gallagher also announcing its partnership with Project Rugby, bolstering the community insurance broker’s commitment to support not only the professional game, but also at a grassroots level across the country. 

Project Rugby offers opportunities to actively participate in the sport to those who might not otherwise have access, including those from low socio-economic backgrounds, Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) individuals and those with disabilities.

Speaking at the Project Rugby launch event, Nolli said: “It’s great to see Gallagher supporting an incredible grassroots programme like Project Rugby, which is working so hard to ensure a much broader cross-section of young people get to enjoy all the fun and fantastic, positive benefits that come from being part of a team and playing the game.

“Gallagher’s survey findings show the powerful benefits playing sport has on young women’s confidence and self-esteem. As a woman, the opportunities to play rugby when I started were limited so I’m passionate about encouraging other young women to pick up a rugby ball and build personal confidence through their involvement with the game. These findings about the positive power of sports participation only go to underline the role we all need to play, as professionals, parents or teachers, in introducing young women – and, indeed, all young people – to different sporting activities. ”

Alison Bain, Head of Marketing and Communications, EMEA, for Gallagher, commented:

“At Gallagher, our aim is to help individuals and businesses face their future with confidence, regardless of who they are, what they do and where they started their journey in life. We are delighted to be partnering with Project Rugby to help extend the reach and benefits of the game beyond traditional rugby-playing communities, particularly as our research shows the hugely positive impact that sport can have in building confidence and boosting self-esteem amongst young women.”

“Launched in 2017, Project Rugby is run jointly by Premiership Rugby and England Rugby allowing rugby to reach new communities and put the benefits of playing the sport on the agenda for many participants for the first time,” said Wayne Morris, the CSR and Community Director at Premiership Rugby. 

“The ground-breaking initiative has been one of the success stories of English rugby with more than 20,000 participants introduced to the game so far. Now, in partnership with such a passionate community broker as Gallagher, who is committed to making a difference, we look forward to Project Rugby getting a huge boost and going from strength to strength.”

To find out more about Project Rugby, visit

Latest Rugby News & Articles

The BRM Big Interview – Adam Hastings

If Glasgow’s Adam Hastings did not already know just how far and wide the ‘Warrior Nation’ spread across Scotland, he had his eyes opened when he made a cameo appearance in front of nearly 6,000 fans in the pre-season friendly against Harlequins in Perth during August.

And now the 21-year-old stand-off cannot wait to run out at a packed out Scotstoun throughout the next few months, believing the home supporters have a massive part to play in the team’s Guinness PRO14 and European journey in the coming months.

“To see so many fans in Perth kind of blew me away a bit to be honest, it is at times like that when you realise just how many people are watching our games, keeping an eye out for our results and cheering us on,” the former Bath playmaker said.

“We are out there representing so many people from all different parts of Scotland and it is always an honour to pull on the Warriors shirt.

“As a result, I can’t wait for the home games to come, I love every time we get a chance to play at Scotstoun and last year some of the atmospheres were amazing.

“I am very excited to get back out there, the crowd really get behind us and are just as excited as us to be there when those nights come around.”

This season the Warriors are led by back-row duo Ryan Wilson and Callum Gibbins – and Adam knows that they can get the best out of the playing group.

“They are fairly similar blokes, two of the nicest guys off the pitch and very popular, but when it comes down to things and a game is approaching and they are not so nice,” he explained.

“Both are great leaders who do lead by example and they are good talkers which is important as a leader. Everyone looks up to them and wants to do well for them.”

Adam came into this season off the back of his first Scotland outings on the summer tour and with a bit more expectation surrounding him and what he can achieve with Finn Russell having moved on.

“I was not playing much last season which was frustrating, but something anybody would accept because of Finn being at the club,” he stated.

“Due to my lack of game time, to be honest, I did not even expect to go on the Scotland tour.

“To manage to play in all three games and play pretty well in all of them was a bonus. Certainly, playing for Scotland over the summer can’t hurt my Glasgow chances going forward.

“Playing those international matches has given me so much confidence going into this season.

“I can’t express how much of a difference that month away with Scotland made to my whole rugby year.

“I realise the guys I am up against to start at stand-off for Glasgow are all quality ball players, but I have made it no secret about the fact that I want to start. We will push each other hard and whoever gets game time at 10 will do a good job.

“Looking ahead, a successful season for myself is getting game time with Glasgow on a regular basis and hopefully squeezing into a Scotland squad again, which would be amazing.

“I could be sitting here next year very happy or very frustrated. Hopefully, if all goes well I can make that World Cup squad. It is up to me to make that happen.

“It will also help to be part of a successful team at Glasgow. Winning the PRO14 and doing much better in Europe has to be our aim. We can get to the final of Europe if we perform as a team. This squad has the ability.

“Having the league final in Glasgow at Celtic Park is also an incentive for us to do well because if we get to the final we’ll have lots of our fans there.”

Adam goes back to where it all began with his famous father

Adam was recently at an event at his old school George Watson’s College in Edinburgh with other former pupils and fellow Scotland caps such as his dad Gavin, uncle Scott, current Edinburgh captain Stuart McInally, Marcus Di Rollo and Jamie Mayer also in attendance.

They all now have strips from their careers up in the tunnel at the Myreside ground there and Adam’s father Gavin said: “I still have great memories of my school days.

“When you are playing in the first teams through the years you aspire to be in the first XV and although you never know if you will be good enough or not you work hard to do that.

“I was lucky enough to get into the senior firsts in S5 and you just remember all the rivalries you had with other local schools like Heriot’s and Stewart’s Melville.

“So, very happy memories and Myreside is like a home from home for me. It is wonderful to see the school rugby teams still doing well, producing talented players and having fun while doing it nowadays too.”

Interview by Gary Heatly.


Latest Rugby News & Articles, Youth Rugby News

When James met Joel

James, our competition winner, came with us on a gorgeous sunny day to Interview Joel Kpoku, the young rising star of Saracens and England U20’s.

We turned up at the Saracens training ground Old Albanians RFC and James was already there. He sat in the bar clutching his typed-out questions and looked like a seasoned journalist already. He was surrounded by giant rugby players and eagerly waiting the interview.

We thought we would get to know James a little better first. So, while Billy Vunipola, Brad Barritt, Alex Goode and others wandered around we chatted to James our journalist for the day. James is a speedy wing/full back who loves Saracens. He is obviously passionate about rugby and his favourite bit about the game is the contact (which he has only just started) and getting muddy. He also likes football, cricket, tennis and athletics and watching England play. His enjoyment of getting muddy is made easier by the fact that his mum washes his kit!

We ran through James’s excellent questions and then it was time for the big interview and for James to meet Joel.

James – When did you start playing rugby?

JK – I started playing at 12 for my school and then I went off to play for a rugby league team. So I started off playing rugby league

James – What club was that at?

JK – For Saracens Amateurs and London Skolars for rugby league.

James – What piece of coaching did you find most useful?

JK – There’s quite a few, but I would say the coaches getting everyone involved in terms of training and stuff and not leaving anyone out. It important so that everyone is as one.

James – What position did you want to play when you were younger?

JK – I didn’t really have a specific position I just thought somewhere in the forwards. I started off as a prop!

James – Why did you want to play at Saracens?

JK – They are the best team in Europe and the country. What they have to offer in terms of the coaching and the players around are unreal so it’s good to be a part of it.

James – What’s different about Saracens to other clubs?

JK – I would say the culture. They bring everyone together and don’t exclude anyone and everyone has a say. Off the field, the things they have to offer in terms of the sports foundation helping kids are great.

James – How many hours a week do you train?

JK – (Scratches head) Plus 12? I don’t know the specifics, but I know it’s quite a lot.

James – How much do you eat and what’s your favourite food?

JK – Oh I eat quite a lot as I’m a big lad! I like a good steak cooked well done with some broccoli on the side and some sweet potatoes.

James – What’s the hardest team you have played against?

JK – I would say France in the U20’s World Cup are probably the toughest team I have played against.

James – What song gets played when you score a try?

JK – It’s a French song called La fuite by a rapper called Vegedream?

James – Why did you choose that song?

JK – I Just thought it was different and it seemed suitable with me and my parents both speaking French.

James – Was Owen’s tackle against South Africa a foul?

JK – No I don’t think it was, he tried to wrap that arm around.

James – Do you think England’s try against New Zealand was offside?

JK – This is a hard one. I thought he was on the back foot as the ball was picked up, so I would say it was a try.

James – What’s your favourite rugby ground to play at?

JK – Allianz. Even though it does burn my knees!

James – I going on tour soon. Do you go on tours?

JK – I went on tour with the U15’s at Saracens Amateurs to Ireland.

James – What do you like doing outside of rugby?

JK – I like swimming and I am also doing a plumbing course.

James – Do you play any other sports?

JK – I try to but not really as rugby is the main one.

James – Where did you last go on Holiday?

JK – I went to Majorca in the summer with some of the lads from the U20’s.

James – What was your favourite subject at school?

JK – P.E!

James – Can you beat me at my times tables rock-stars?

JK – Yeah probably ha-ha!

(Times tables rock stars is an app on James phone where you answer 20 questions and only have 5 seconds per question.)

James went first and got an awesome 20 out of 20! Joel’s confidence on a rugby pitch is excellent, but his nerves may have failed when he faced James and his maths tekkers. Joel came a close second with a respectable 9 out of 20.

Many thanks to Joel Kpoku who was such a friendly man and great fun to talk to. We are sure that he is a star of the future and we really look forward to chatting again. All the best Joel.


Joel Kpoku fact file

Age – 19.

Height – 1.96m

Weight – 126kg

Position – Lock

Fun fact – Joel has a twin brother called Jonathan who also plays for Saracens.

Latest Rugby News & Articles

7 reasons to visit World’s Largest Sport & Music Festival!

7 reasons to visit World’s Largest Sport & Music Festival!

The World’s Largest Sport and Music Festival is back this late May bank holiday, 24th – 26th May 2019, in the beautiful South of England, Bournemouth. Renowned as the sporting Glastonbury, Bournemouth 7s has established a formidable reputation over 12 years among sports people and festival goers alike.

With its buzzing atmosphere, Bournemouth 7s attracts over 30,000 festival goers and 400 sports teams each year from all over the world to the picturesque Dorset country side.

By day, Rugby, Netball, Hockey, Dodgeball and Volleyball teams compete in a range of elite and social sports tournaments across the 65-acre Festival sites.

By night, the Festival offers 15 vibrant themed Festival arenas including the much-loved “Bunker” and 40 live bands and DJs with sing along parties, R’n’B, dance, techno, garage, Hip Hop and house music.

Bournemouth 7s is getting bigger and better each year. This year it has added Volleyball to its offering and responded to the rising popularity of Dodgeball across the world by increasing the opportunity for non-sporty people to play, compete and have fun in this brilliant non-contact sport. 

This year, Bournemouth 7s opens the doors to an amazing crazy VIP arena – ‘The Colourseum’. If you are looking to ride a rodeo bull, participate in sock & suit wrestling, play giant beer pong, or have a relaxing massage after enjoying a drink in the garden, ‘The VIP Colourseum’ is your arena. Or, treat yourself and upgrade to ‘The V-VIP’ and mingle with the celebrities.

Glamping is Bournemouth 7s most exclusive and easiest package, as all you need to remember is to rock up to the Festival with your essentials, as everything will be awaiting your arrival, including pre-erected bell tents, the Glampers bar, beds and private luxurious bathrooms.

Bournemouth is also for your rugby mad kids. Under 14 year olds are allowed to enter the festival for free. Every minor (under-the age of 18) needs to be accompanied by someone who is over the age of 21. Children have to leave the campsite at 7pm. In terms of playing at Bournemouth 7s, children are able to enter Hockey, Dodgeball, Netball and Volleyball teams. In terms of Rugby tournaments – it depends on the player who applies for playing at Bournemouth 7s. It is judged case by case depending on the child’s experience and level, since it is a contact sport. 

Manu enjoys visiting the Bournemouth 7s.

Rugby-pros attend Bournemouth 7s every year. Last year Leicester Tigers players Tom Varndell and Manu Tuilagi, as well as ex Wasps Winger Christian Wade, Welsh Rugby Union Player Shane Williams and former England Rugby Player Lewis Moody took part and attend Bournemouth 7s – the World’s Largest Sport and Music Festival. 

Also, Just confirmed! Simon Shaw will be attending this years Bournemouth 7s. The former English Rugby Player Simon Shaw, is not only one of the tallest men to have played for England, he also became the first player ever to play in 200 Premiership matches. Simon Shaw is the longest-serving England rugby player and is now designing and creating rugby balls.

For 2019, Bournemouth 7s will support Dorset Mind and Hope for Food charities with partnerships to be announced.

Tickets are on sale now! To become a part of this unique crazy experience,  check out to secure your EARLYBIRD weekend ticket for £50.

For more information please contact Gemma Harris ( or Mira Obersteiner ( ; Twitter: @LineupMedia

Bournemouth 7s: website:  Official video:

Charity Partnerships: Dorset Mind and Hope For Food

Picture Credits: Bournemouth 7s

Latest Rugby News & Articles, Youth Rugby News

Amazing grassroots support for the “My Name’5 Doddie Foundation”

Rugby is not just about the top clubs and international games. Your clubs, up and down the country, are doing great things and playing great games and we want to hear about them. Check out this story from Blaydon RFC and their support of a fantastic charity through an U13’s match with Melrose RFC.

A few seasons ago the then Blaydon RFC U10’s, based just outside of Newcastle, raised £1700 for Solving Kids Cancer UK a venture which sowed the seeds for the importance of fundraising and helping others.  This season the team, now U13’s, have been inspired by the story of the legendary former Scotland and Lions international star player Doddie Weir and chose to support his charity by playing a fixture against Melrose RFC.

Doddie was diagnosed last year with an illness called Motor Neurone Disease which currently has no cure, so he decided to put all his energy into a charity that he and some friends started up called the “My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.”   The ‘5’ is not a mistake but refers to his favourite shirt number from his playing days.

When Doddie first played rugby, it was for his local club Melrose RFC in the Scottish Borders and when the sport went professional, he played for Newcastle Falcons and it was this geographical link that provided the connection between the two clubs.

On the day of the match, 45 eager and skilful young players representing Melrose Wasps and Blaydon Lions got involved in a fantastic game of rugby played on what is arguably one of the most scenic pitches in the country under some glorious autumnal Scottish sunshine.  The game was played in the true spirit of the sport with some beautiful running rugby on display and tries aplenty with Blaydon RFC emerging as victors and claiming the inaugural “Doddie Weir Trophy” that had been donated by the Blaydon team as an annual award to encourage that this fundraising fixture continues for many years to come.

Post-match in true traditional style the young players enjoyed each other’s company and after all being presented with a participation medal and acknowledging each other’s performances got down to raising funds for Doddie’s Foundation by way of a raffle.

The day was great fun all round and both teams made new friends along the way with the talk already turning to plans for the return fixture at Blaydon RFC next season for some more entertaining rugby and to continue raising funds for such a worthwhile cause.

Find out more at

(Our thanks to Andy Lane at Blaydon RFC for this story and also his great work in sorting the charity game out!)


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Latest Rugby News & Articles

Anthony Mullally. Plant powered.

Anthony Mullally is an Ireland rugby league international and Leeds Rhinos forward. At 6ft 5ins he is known as the Vegan Warrior because he doesn’t eat any meat or animal products, and is one of the strongest and fittest players in the country. He actively works with Veganuary, an event that promotes a month of a vegan diet each January, and has recently opened a vegan restaurant called Vital Café near his club’s grounds in Leeds.

Anthony was a vegetarian for two and a half years before going vegan two years ago. “I watched some talks and documentaries on YouTube which changed my perception of things.” he said. “Obviously because of the nature of the sport, I didn’t want to do anything drastic that would affect my performance, but I know now that was never going to be the case. “Initially for health reasons I gave up red meat, chicken, then fish. But then I looked into the dairy industry and decided to go vegan for ethical reasons.”

Though he says he didn’t miss eating meat, he sometimes found it hard when he and the rugby lads went out for food after training. “We’re quite social, so that was difficult to go places where there weren’t vegetarian options.  I used to get some stick off the lads for not eating meat. Other players from the club were initially shocked when it first happened, but then people had questions and wanted to know why.”

Anthony had to research the right things to eat to maintain his weight. “You definitely don’t need meat to gain muscle and perform at your best at the highest levels of sport,” he says. “But it’s more than just eating veggie burgers or white bread and rice. It’s important to have a balanced and varied range of greens, wholegrains, beans, and legumes,” he says. “As long as you get the right amount of calories you’re going to perform as well you could anyway. At the time I didn’t realise that but now I know that’s the case.”

He says that he feels better since going vegan. “I’m as strong as I’ve ever been. I was the strongest in the team so there’s definitely been no decline in strength or physical performance. I’m still competing with the real big guys. “I also noticed that I wouldn’t be as sore after weight sessions. I feel really good.”

Leeds Rhinos have been very supportive of Anthony’s vegan diet. “As a club, they really look after me,” says Anthony. “They provide vegan food at the club, and when we’re out they always ask the chef to make a vegan option for me. Even on away tours, they’ll do the same with the hotel. They’re very accommodating.”

He suggests that vegan and vegetarian players should discuss their needs with their own club.

“Everyone deserves to be treated equally based on their beliefs. At your own rugby clubs it’s good to speak to whoever’s in charge of the kitchen to see if they could provide at least one option. Everyone needs to eat after a game, and a pack of veggie sausages doesn’t cost a lot! 


Birthday: 25th June 1991

Position: Prop

Height: 6’5

Weight: 112 kilos

Pre-match rituals: No rituals really. Just try to keep in the moment and not dwell too much on what might happen or what has happened.

Advice to youngsters? Enjoy rugby. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you want to make it as a rugby player you have to put in the hard work, dedication and discipline.

Find out more about Anthony Mullally on:

Instagram @mullally91

Twitter @mullally_

Interview by Nima Suchak