Nickname: None, I’m afraid
Occupation: Student, tutor
Favourite Teams: Northampton Saints (USAP, Ulster, Waratahs, Highlanders, Sharks)
Favourite player: Dylan Hartley, Phil Dowson, Jimmy Cowan, Jaque Fourie
How long have you been a rugby fan?
What/who got you into rugby?
A very dear friend of mine was in France in the build-up to and during the World Cup, and she sucked me right into it with her excitement, and the rest is history.
What’s your favourite part about rugby?
Surely the intensity of the game on all levels, paired up with a sense of overall fairness (apart from the occasional black sheep) that always makes me proud to say I’m a rugby fan. Also the atmosphere among fans, wherever you are in the world. While you may support different teams, favour different players, you always feel like you’re part of a huge family, and that really is unique to rugby.
What’s your fondest memories involving rugby?
Any of my trips down to Toulon. While I may not support the club itself (or rather its “Let’s buy everyone” policy), I love the place, and I love the supporters. One time I met Joe van Niekerk, and he really is the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life. And surely the trip my Mum and I took to Bourgoin-Jallieu. How we ended up in the middle of nowhere to watch some rugby (and to laugh at Andy Goode)? Priceless.
What do you feel is the biggest issue in the game right now?
Inconsistent refereeing, by far. Which is not only visible when you compare Northern Hemisphere referees to their Southern Hemisphere colleagues, but it’s already quite unbearable to watch the Heineken Cup at times, because every single referee seems to operate under his own personal set of rules. And the scrums are a total shambles, the commands vary so much from referee to referee, I’m amazed that not more front rows just end up falling over because someone takes so long to get the words out, plus random penalties being awarded where the referees themselves couldn’t explain what they’ve blown the whistle for now.
What is the biggest problem you encounter being a female rugby fan?
I haven’t encountered any problems so far. If guys aren’t rugby fans themselves and love being able to talk shop with me, they are at least intrigued enough to ask what the deal with me and rugby is.
Any final words?
Fix the scrums and breakdowns, and you fix the game. (And that goes for the All Blacks captain as well)