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New Inner Warriors show Hackney Rugby Club are moving in the right direction

PUBLISHED: 16:07 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:07 13 February 2017

The nationwide Inner Warrior campaign run by England rugby has been a hot with Hackney RFC ladies

The nationwide Inner Warrior campaign run by England rugby has been a hot with Hackney RFC ladies

Kerry Harrison

A nationwide campaign to encourage more women and girls into rugby has been hailed a hit by Hackney Rugby Club.

The nationwide Inner Warrior campaign run by England rugby has been a hot with Hackney RFC ladiesThe nationwide Inner Warrior campaign run by England rugby has been a hot with Hackney RFC ladies

Lamees Yousif, captain of Hackney ladies, said the refreshing Meet Your Inner Warrior Camp session at the club was symptomatic of the growth in women’s rugby at the east London club, stating they have never seen numbers at training like they are currently getting.

Launched in January, England Rugby’s campaign saw clubs across the country stage special sessions.

The free fun and informal ‘Warrior Camps’ teach basic skills and drills in the hope they will embrace the sport and join a local club.

Hackney had 26 female players at the session, with three brand new to rugby and three returning to the sport having played before.

The nationwide Inner Warrior campaign run by England rugby has been a hot with Hackney RFC ladiesThe nationwide Inner Warrior campaign run by England rugby has been a hot with Hackney RFC ladies

And skipper Yousif, who is in her third season at the club, says the session had a very positive impact as the club looks to build foundations for the future.

She said: “It went really well, it was nice to have some new people come along and help us, and to have a different set up. It was quite refreshing.

“It gave the older girls the opportunity to be a bit more creative, but it was still approachable for the newer girls to help them understand rugby, so it was really good.

“To think when I started playing two years ago, there was only four of us, it’s really developed over time.

“The women’s team has been around for about five or six years, but we’ve never seen numbers like this, I think it has a lot to do with the World Cup, which gave us a big kick last year.

“It’s just a case of sustaining it now, but girls are definitely more interested and the signs are good.”

The longer-term plan for Hackney, according to Yousif, is to formulate a development side, acting as a feeder to the first team.

Despite their season finishing next month, she added she was confident of keeping some of the new players on their books.

“I want the first team to actually move up a league as well,” she said. “We’re currently in the development league, but hopefully it will happen by this time next year.

“Hopefully our development team will have enough friendly games in the bank to be introduced into the league as well.

“The three girls that came are staying, as far as I know. Our season ends in March, which is quite annoying, but hopefully we’ll get going again in the summer and keep them interested.

“I don’t see any of them not coming back - they all seemed really keen.”

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