Lizzy Nicholl – Rugby Sport Scholar

rugby photo 1Rugby has always been a massive part of my life. I grew up in a household where rugby was on the television at every available opportunity. It was at the age of 9 that I told my dad I wanted to try it out for myself. When I went to my first ever training session at Bexley RFC I first met fellow Christ Church Sports Scholar, Aegean Leech, with whom I have been friends and team mates ever since.

rugby photo 2My time at Bexley RFC and Aylesford RFC helped me develop so much as a player and also allowed me to start developing as a coach. I represented the Kent County Girls teams for 6 seasons at both under 15s and under 18s levels. Despite suffering with reoccurring shoulder injuries, throughout my whole rugby career, I’ve never once thought about giving up. I have so many great memories from the years I have been playing, including winning the National Rugby 7s tournament with my club and having the honour to represent the London and South East England divisional team.

Before joining Canterbury Christ Church University this year, I could not have predicted how much more rugby would become a part of my life. Playing for the university team has been a totally new experience for me but one I have thoroughly loved and enjoyed all season, with highlights being our undefeated season in the league, winning the RFU Womens Student Team of the Year award and a record breaking Varsity win of 47-0 against Kent University. As well as university rugby, I also made the decision to join the Canterbury Ladies team at Canterbury RFC. The Ladies team made me feel so welcome, especially as I was slightly nervous at playing at Womens club level for the first time.

rugby photo 3This year I was also selected to be a part of the Kent County Womens Rugby Team, which is my first season of representing the County side at senior level. I then had the immense privilege to be named their Captain, making me the youngest female captain of a senior county team in history, at just 18 years old. Being able to play with and lead such a talented group of players has been a massive highlight for me this year.

rugby photo 5I thought it would be difficult this year to balance all my rugby with my academic studies; however my degree of Sport and Exercise Science has actually helped me with both my performing and coaching in rugby. Since joining the university in September, I have completed a number of coaching courses, my most recent being the RFU Level 2 coaching course. With this course completed I hope to be able to help out with coaching around Canterbury next academic year.

The Christ Church Sport Scholarship Programme has helped me immensely this year as both a performer and a coach as they have provided amazing opportunities and support for me and I am incredibly excited to see what the next year and season hold.

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