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Thoughts on the Rugby World Cup from a female rugby player - By Natasha Brennan

5th November 2015
So we are finally in November and after 6 weeks, 48 games, 271 tries and 194 conversions the Rugby World Cup is sadly over, but what a tournament it has been! With so much excitement, anticipation and hope, it certainly proved to be a very memorable one! Some parts perhaps for the wrong reasons, but despite the early exit from England and without sounding to clichéd, Rugby really was the winner! There is a lot to be said and a lot that has been said about the disappointing, early exit from England; and one that was heart breaking for the coaches, players and fans. It was certainly a worst case scenario and one that will be hard for the players and coaches to forget.

As an athlete when you put so much hard work and effort into a dream, that suddenly evaporates, it is a tough situation to deal with. I have no doubt though that this experience will be a turning point that will be learnt from and whole team will go away and use this experience to fuel their experiences moving forward to make sure that they never feel this pain again.

On a positive note the Rugby World Cup has still been a fantastic tournament that showed England and the world what a beautiful game rugby really is. For me this tournament has shown countless examples of skill, athleticism, teamwork and above all, respect. I love the fact that the respect comes from the players towards each other, the coaches and the fans. There is a mutual understanding that whatever happens on the pitch people appreciate good rugby and skill.

I truly believe that both sports and even businesses could learn so much from principles of rugby players, the way they pull together, the way they communicate with each other and they way they respect each other as individuals. It is these fundamentals that enable them to do their best individually to make them successful as a collective. It is no surprise that New Zealand has the best culture in the game, and it is no coincidence that they are World Champions and a world class act!

In terms of my own training with the England/ Great Britain 7’s rugby squad, the World Cup has been an inspiring time for me personally. It has been a reminder why I love the game, and also the joy it brings to be successful on a world stage and the kick you get from succeeding and winning. It also reminded me of the wonderful experience of winning the 15s World Cup in 2014.

All these thoughts and experiences add lots of fuel to why you slog it out at training every day and go through all the ups and downs, as it is certainly worth it, especially when you have a shiny medal around your neck! I am still shocked that Sonny Bill Williams gave his World Cup winning medal to 9 year old boy, after being tackled by a security guard for unlawfully running on the pitch to embrace winners. It really was an unbelievable act of kindness and one that the lad will never forget!!

Training is currently moving out of our pre-season phase, and it has grown in intensity, especially from a rugby perspective with our first competition in Dubai in less than 5 weeks! I am really happy as my knee has made really good progress, meaning I have been fully integrated back into training which has made all the rehab over the last 5 months worthwhile.

We have a tournament in Spain in the next two weeks that will act as a warm up tournament before Dubai, and I am really chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch and play again. I really hope to put in a good performance in the hope I can secure myself a spot in the team of 12 players that will officially start our season of competition. I want to say I have my fingers and toes crossed, but judging by what happened in the World Cup, I think players create their own luck, so I hope I am on the right road :)
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