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FEE POCOCK

English International Union player

Career:

•   Captained Petersfield U16 and went on to represent England U20 and A teams before earning 32 caps for England.

•   Scored the opening try in England’s 2010 WRWC campaign against Ireland, and an additional three tries in the second game against Kazakhstan. Awarded Sky Sports’ HD Woman of the Match, eventually becoming England’s top try-scorer in the pool stages.

•   Played her club rugby for Richmond FC and Harlequins, and has made appearances playing at Dubai 7s, Amsterdam 7’s.

•   Now retired from play and while focussing her efforts on education and career progression, Fee works as a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach for athletes around the globe. You can find her on instagram @feepo15 and online at www.fionapococktraining.com She is soon launching a brand new training platform for female rugby players, so stay tuned!

Now retired from play and while focussing her efforts on education and career progression, Fee works as a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach for athletes around the globe. You can find her on instagram @feepo15 and online at www.fionapococktraining.com She is soon launching a brand new training platform for female rugby players, so watch this space!


How did you start playing rugby, and what made you fall in love with the sport?

II started my rugby journey at my local club, Petersfield RFC, at the grand old age of 6. There was a brilliant atmosphere down at 'The Taro' - the place that was to be my stomping grounds for the next 10 years. The thing which most grabbed my attention about the game was the exhilaration of being chased... and getting away. In the mini's, playing with the boys, the moments for running away were a welcomed relief from standing, waiting, for what seemed like hours in the freezing cold on the wing. During the early days I took inspiration from Shane Williams - if you don't know who that is you were probably born after the millennium - he was famous for being the smallest on the pitch but he was also the nippiest; two traits I think we share.

What do you think makes rugby such a powerful experience for women and girls?

Rugby for me means community. Grabbing a massive plate of chips and ketchup with the team after a game was as much the reason I endured early Sunday mornings as anything else. This notion was true even during the latter part of my career, except instead of chips and ketchup post-game, we had pints and ice baths! I'll never forget when England Rugby introduced 'ice baths' - wheelie bins full of icey water and it was compulsory to go in up to your neck for a full 5 minutes. For a short-arse, this meant not being able to touch the floor; not exactly helpful when your teammates are looking for victims to dunk under the water! Joint experiences like these are the reasons why I love rugby so much. The effort and graft of working towards something as a group is a powerful thing, and whether you win or lose you're with other people who care about it too.Playing rugby at the highest level meant that I could take the thing I enjoyed most in life and turn it into something meaningful. The drive to push myself day in and day out has given me the tools to push myself elsewhere in life. I know my limits and I know what grafting feels like. This means I can make sure everything I do is truly to the best of my ability.

What are some of the challenges with women's rugby?

It's incredible to see how the game has grown over the last decade. For a start, full time contracts are a standard and not only a privilege. Still more work needs to be done though; I'd love to see broadcasters and investors get behind the women's game more - it's a no brainer for me.The game has given me so much and I’m thrilled to continue to work within it from the other side , driving participation and professionalism throughout all levels. For the game to continue to grow, we need to focus our energy on developing the players that sit under the Prem. We need to turn our approach from Top-Down to Bottom-Up and a huge part of that is empowering players to develop themselves physically and technically. I hope to dedicate my career to this endeavour, so watch this space!

TIGHT FIVE

1. What’s your middle name?

Alice

2. What position do you play? Have you played others as well or before?

Left Wing. Have played fullback and 13 internationally.

3. Do you have a lucky game day hairstyle or item of clothing or tape with words- any game day turnout rituals

No rituals or superstitions – I turn up and play.

4. Favourite workout

As a triangle on sticks, obviously my favourite workout is anything upper body.

5. How do you want to leave the jersey (and the sport) better for the next generation of female athletes?

Personally - I hope my small stint in the shirt inspired just one girl or boy to take up rugby and love it as much as I did. Professionally - I want to encourage girls and women to strive for optimal athletic performance through improving education around strength and conditioning.

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