The Vale of Glamorgan is leading the way for girls' rugby in Wales, with Barry RFC having successfully set up the country's only girls team at under 12s level.
The team has been training all season and recently returned from their first ever fixture against a team based in the Forest of Dean. The Barry girls were narrowly defeated by Drybrook in their first match, but travelled home from across the border full of excitement and a hunger for more.
Coach Lisa Jordan said: "Many of the girls didn't have much knowledge of rugby to begin with so we started the season with classroom sessions to teach them the rules. They really enjoyed learning about the game so we soon got them out on the pitch. They've worked really hard and to see them play their first match was amazing. They actually took the lead by scoring a try in the first ten seconds, which was unbelievable! Although we ended up losing, we gave them a really good run for their money and we are looking forward to a return fixture."
There will be many more fixtures for the girls to enjoy next season, as teams across Wales are set to spring into action. However, Barry RFC will always be the first, and the Vale of Glamorgan Council's rugby development officer Matt Silva said: "I was asked last year if there were any projects that I would like to get underway after new funding became available from the Sports Council for Wales. It came at a time when local residents had met with me asking if we could start a girls' rugby team in the Vale. The project took off at that point and it has been steadily growing for the past 12 months."
Matt added: "Being the first girls' team at this age level to get up and running in Wales is a fantastic achievement and everyone involved deserves an enormous amount of credit for their commitment and patience. This is a great start for the girls and it will be exciting for them to test themselves in more matches next season. Some of the girls will move up next year to form an under 15s squad, while new players are invited to come along and train with both age groups. I would urge any girls who are interested in rugby to go and give it a try. The girls really enjoy the friendly environment and I hope they continue to thrive."
Any girls aged from 10 up to 15 are welcome to train with the club on Sunday mornings, 10:15am until 12pm on Barry Island beach, and Tuesday evenings, 7pm to 8pm at the rugby club. Both training sessions will continue through the summer too. To find out more please call Lisa Jordan on 07854 146075.
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