Meet Rugby Fan: Rachel

Rachel Simmo with Rocky Elsom

Rugby Fan: Rachel

Name: Rachel

Age: 22

Nickname: Simmo

Occupation: Technically unemployed but I do some freelance journalism

Favourite Teams: Moseley, Leicester Tigers and the Brumbies

Favourite player: Of all time? Martin Johnson.  Currently? Rocky Elsom, Tom Croft and Billy Twelvetrees

Twitter: @rachel_simmo


How long have you been a rugby fan?

For as long as I can remember! I went to my first rugby match before I turned 1.

What/who got you into rugby?

My Dad and Grandad are huge rugby fans and they always used to take me along to matches or I’d sit in front of the TV and watch them. I think I’ve surpassed them now in terms of who follows rugby more closely.

What’s your favourite part about rugby?

The people you meet through it. There’s a group of us who meet up during the season on the Crumbie Terrace in Leicester, we’re like a little family! Plus I’m always bumping into other rugby fans that I know either from my local clubs or past matches at other matches – it’s a small world!

I love the banter as well, I’ve got plenty of friends who don’t support Leicester and we still stand together, it’s not like football where the fans are segregated. It’s all about the rugby for 80 minutes but after the game you just go and have a beer with them, win or lose.

What’s your fondest memories involving rugby?

From a family perspective it was the 2009 EDF National Cup Final at Twickenham between Moseley and Leeds. Moseley had been to HQ for cup finals before, which my Dad and Grandad had been too, but they hadn’t won. The time I go to see Moseley in a cup final and they win!

I also loved my Leicester Heineken Cup trips to the Millennium Stadium for the final against Munster in 2002 and the semi-final against Cardiff in 2009. The atmosphere was fantastic and both matches were brilliant and so so nerve-wracking!

What do you feel is the biggest issue in the game right now?

From an international perspective it has to be the differences in refereeing between Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere referees, especially at the breakdown and scrums. Consistency is needed because it’s not fair on the players or on the fans watching the games and seeing the laws interpreted a different way each time.

From a domestic perspective I’d look at the salary cap. You see the French teams in the Top 14 buying a Who’s Who of Super 15 rugby each season while the English clubs are being restricted by the salary cap that is imposed on them season after season. It may make things fairer in terms of the Aviva Premiership but not so much when it comes to the Heineken Cup. The governing bodies need to look at this carefully to make sure that whatever they choose to do doesn’t stop the development of younger players or the occasional signing of a higher profile player. A team shouldn’t be flooded with superstars, that should be the image of the international sides.

What is the biggest problem you encounter being a female rugby fan?

Mostly men thinking that you don’t know anything about the game! As someone who’s grown up with the sport I have a very good knowledge of rugby, better than some men I’ll have you know, whenever a bloke tries to say something like that with me I always prove them wrong. And those who think that you’re only watching rugby for the good-looking men – wrong. They are good looking but the looks come second to the action for me.

Any final words?

I’d love the Aviva Premiership to get rid of the play-offs at the end of the season – whoever finishes top should win the trophy!



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