October 2018: Rugby fan Serena gets place in England squad

WHEN people discover Serena Cape is a rugby player they are often surprised and now she has been chosen for England Development Squad.

Serena, a Year 11 student at Haslingden High School, used to compete at judo and was the North of England champion before deciding to switch sports.

She said: “My brother Dylan, 12, was playing rugby for Rochdale and I would be there as a spectator.  Then they decided to set up a girls’ team and I decided to have a go – and I liked it.”

That was May last year and by September she had earned a place in the Lancashire team.

Serena, 15, said: “I play number 8, a flanker, so I am at the back of the scrum. I can’t kick but I am good at tackling.  I enjoyed judo but you were on your own, whereas with rugby you are part of a team and I enjoy that. It is nice to have team members to share success with.  I play for Rochdale Rugby Union Girls’ U18s and have competed for Lancashire for a season.  My Lancashire coach put me forward to go for a trial for the England Rugby Football Union U18 Development Squad. There were two trials and only 30 places available.   A few of the girls from Lancashire got places and I am now waiting to find out when we will be training.”

She is now on the Elite Performance Pathway and hopefully it will lead to a place in the England U20 squad when she goes to university.

Serena is considering a career in medicine as her dad Rob is a paramedic. He also used to play rugby and still helps to coach. Serena’s younger brother Owen, eight, also plays rugby.

She added: “At the start my friends were surprised to find that I played rugby, but now they are all for it and they are really supportive. I do get odd reactions from people though when I say I like rugby.  Some of the matches can be 30 minutes each half and it is very tiring. I can be aching after a match, and the day after, but I just keep going.  I have come away with some bruises and scratches, but nothing more serious than that.”

She also plays for the school netball team.