Getting a good interview invariably relies very much on calling in favours, and knowing someone who knows someone. So when my eldest son told me that he is studying with Sarah Bern, the current England Prop, who rose to fame during the last WRWC, I was quick to ask for an interview.
Sarah is 20 years old, and currently the youngest member of the squad. She is studying Sports Strength & Conditioning at Hartpury, and plays for Hartpury Women’s Rugby too.
So, Sarah, an amazing performance by you and your team, The Red Roses, at the recent WRWC; have you come back down to earth yet?
Haha, thank you and yes, I think we had to pretty quickly – most of the girls had to go straight back to work within a few days of returning home, so it was back to normal life for us straight away.
At what point did you hear that you had been selected for the WRWC England Squad? And how did you feel when you heard?
I think it was about a month before I flew out. I felt so honoured and I guess at the time I didn’t really believe that I actually had been picked to go to a world cup with some players I had looked up to from when I first started playing rugby.
Putting on an England shirt, and wearing the Red Rose, how would you sum that up?
I don’t think I can sum it up, to be honest; it’s so special and everyone will feel differently but I felt a sense of achievement, honour and passion. It was also a bit scary, as it’s now my job to fill the shirt, and do my country and team mates proud.
You were awarded player of the match during a WRWC game; what did you do during that game that made you stand out?
To be honest, I couldn’t believe that I had actually won it. I personally don’t think I did anything different to make me stand out, I just gave everything I had, but then again so did everyone else. I just didn’t want to let anyone down so just stuck to my jobs and did them as well as I could for my team, and I guess that’s why.
If you could go back to any of the matches in the recent WRWC, which one would you go back to and why? What would you do differently?
I would obviously go back to the final because I desperately wanted to win it. But also the support of the nation we had behind us was amazing! I could feel it on the pitch, and playing in such an important match was an experience I will never forget!
Do you watch your games afterwards and look at how you can improve as a team, as well as individually?
Yes, we always do that. The only way you will ever get better is by looking back and reviewing yourself in anything.
Has rugby always been in your life? What other sports do you like & play?
I love playing any sport really and have a real passion for skiing and snowboarding. I used to play football, netball, basketball, cricket, athletics and any other sports I fancied a go at. It wasn’t until later when I got more involved with England, did I realise rugby was the sport for me.
So, you are back at Hartpury, continuing with your studies, what does the future hold for you now?
Yes, I love being back here at Hartpury, they have been very supportive of me and my transition back to uni after the tournament. I have no idea what the future holds, but I am just going to keep striving to be the best I can be in rugby, and focus on my studies as well, as rugby doesn’t pay the bills! Haha
Do you have any good ideas on how we can recruit more girls into taking up rugby?
I think the media coverage of the world cup has really helped, so if we can keep that going, and make it more appealing to young girls, then I think it will grow even more.
To secure the future of the game for women and girls, do you have a message for potential sponsors?
Yes, just that women’s rugby is a growing sport. Men’s rugby never used to be professional and look where they are now; the women’s game could be the same. Its an exciting time to be getting involved all over the world, and it could be great to be a part of and say I helped this to happen.
Sarah is a great ambassador for the game and her passion and commitment is what drives her. I wish Sarah every success with her rugby career, and I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of her rugby skills in the future, wearing the Rose and making her country proud.