RFU 'warrior camps' extended after attracting 1,000-plus new female players

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Chloe Madeley challenges you to find your Inner Warrior!

A programme of rugby union taster sessions that attracted more than 1,000 new female players earlier this year will be rolled out again in May.

The RFU - English rugby's governing body - hosted sessions in 100 clubs in January and has now selected a further 100 to take part in the scheme.

'Warrior Camps' teach basic skills and drills, with coaches on hand to help with this introduction to the sport.

All participants need is a pair of trainers and their usual workout gear.

"We set ourselves an ambitious target when launching our women and girls strategy in 2014 - to get 25,000 women participating in contact rugby," said RFU rugby development director Steve Grainger.

"We achieved our target one year ahead of schedule, but know there is still work to be done to ensure women are aware of the opportunities out there for them to participate in rugby, whether for fun or at a competitive level."

The camps aim to foster the growing appetite for rugby among women aged 18-35, providing greater visibility for women's activities at their local clubs.

One participant in the January scheme - at Rushden and Higham RFC in Northamptonshire - was an instant convert.

"I had a great time trying rugby for the first time," said Chloe Madeley. "If you want to get into fitness while doing something social at the same time, I would recommend you give rugby a go.

"Not only are you getting active but you get to be with a load of girls who are happy to get muddy and have a laugh. It's honestly so much fun."

Captain of Bishop's Stortford ladies' team, Carly Poyser, said the sessions offer a way in to the sport for those who might not imagine themselves participating.

"Maybe they feel they're too short, or too unfit. But this type of event shows it's an environment that welcomes everyone," she said There's no pressure. It's simply: 'come along and see what you think'."

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Meet your 'inner warrior' with rugby