Two Bristol teachers are swapping their classrooms for the rugby pitch when they head to the Touch Rugby World Cup taking place in Kuala Lumpur this April.https://www.redmaidshigh.co.uk
Sarah Rosenburg and Anthea Joyce – both members of staff at Redmaids’ High School – have been touch rugby team-mates at the Bristol-based Fijians side for 15 years and have played for their respective national squads on numerous occasions.
Sarah was in the England senior mixed division team who were runners up in the European Touch Rugby Championships in 2018 and has been selected again as a member of the England squad, while Anthea, who is nearing 40 caps for Ireland, will be participating in a European Women’s 35 team.
A mother of two young children, Sarah has found new ways of fitting the training schedule around her home and working life.
She says: “I have adapted my training schedule to fit my wider commitments and find that 30 minute high-intensity bursts in the gym work really well for me.”
About the game itself, Sarah says: “The rules are very different to traditional rugby – it is non-contact with tackles and scrums replaced by touches on fellow team mates in order to continue the passage of play. This opens the game up tremendously to more athletes and to mixed gender teams.”
Sarah first started playing touch rugby when she left university, but it wasn’t until after she had children that she decided to try for the national levels.
“I saw that there were some other women in the Bristol area who were getting involved,” she says, “I thought that I could probably have a go, so I went along to an open trial.”
Anthea, who teaches at Redmaids’ High Junior School, has represented Ireland since 2012 in both European and Home Nation championships.
Also a mother of three, she said: “Touch rugby is a great sport, and is highly accessible to different age groups.
“With men and women playing alongside each other, the game becomes more strategic as at times there is obviously a mismatch of speed and weight, but this can be used to your advantage.”
The upcoming six-day tournament, which first took place in Australia in 1988, will be the biggest Touch World Cup yet, with 116 teams going head to head.