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SALLY TUSON

Hometown: Prestbury

Supports: Internationally England, and I don’t actually have a favourite national team- I just enjoy watching rugby!

Career:

•   Internationally capped for England in both 15s and 7s, with tours to New Zealand and Atlanta. -Favourite try - six nations against Wales in wales and scoring the winning try.

•   Head coach of Essex County Girls Program

•   Backs Coach of Thurrock Men’s in London 1 South

•   Oversaw the administrative set up of the Essex county select women’s and girls programs in 2019  

How did you start playing rugby?

I started playing rugby at Cardiff University in my second year! I took part in a lot of different sports growing up, to name a few this included horse riding, county netball, and I was a keen sprinter and competed in the England schools competition. I wanted to try a new sport entirely and so chose rugby. I fell in love with the sport because it combined a lot of the different skills that I had learnt from other sports, but mostly because of the people that I have met along the way, I have met some of the greatest people through playing rugby! Best friends, role models and even my husband! The rugby community is like no other and it really does feel like you are part of a massive family.

What made you fall in love with the sport?

Rugby is such a powerful experience for women and girls because it doesn’t matter your shape or size, your experience or game knowledge as long as your willing to give it a go and work hard you will never be ridiculed for doing so. For me personally, I’m a massive girly girl, I love to get my nails and hair done, love putting on make up and getting dressed up- but come game day, we are all warriors on that pitch together and for me it’s like an alter ego takes over! I feel powerful, not only as an individual but knowing I have 14 girls behind me every step of the way.

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

I was fortunate enough to play with some outstanding rugby legends in my career- whether that be the unreal step of Danielle Waterman, Kat Merchants handoff or Marlie Packer and Heather Fisher's tackling aggression. All of these people gave me something to strive and work towards. I really did have the opportunity to learn off the very best! Two people that really helped shape my knowledge of the game were the likes of Abi Chamberlain and Kim Oliver who’s leadership and decisions on the pitch were simply exceptional.

Who are the role models or mentors who made a difference in your career?

Rugby really is an amazing sport and I cannot stress enough how life-changing the friendships are that you will make along the way. Mercedes Foy - my sister from another mister, the most caring, crazy, driven individual you will ever meet. Vicky Fleetwood where our pre game ritual consisted of fake tan, nails and face masks! Kate Newton my “lion head” house mate who made me laugh every day! I’m simply so lucky to have found such amazing inspirational individuals.  

TIGHT FIVE

1. What’s your middle name?

Ann

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

13 although I have played flanker, 10, 12, wing and fullback

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

Always wearing my short shorts 🤣

4. Favourite workout

Leg day or boxing

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

To inspire girls to break the mould, be brave and believe that being a female in a male dominated sport is not a weakness. I currently coach a London 1s men’s team the only female to do so across the north and south division. I regularly get asked if I’m the Medic or team manager and it gives me a huge amount of pleasure correcting the men that assume so.

I currently work for the RFU as a Club developer- previously a Community Rugby Coach where I developed a new look women’s and girls program in Essex. The program provides better local playing opportunities for girls in the Essex county. I’m absolutely committed to giving women and girls the best opportunity as possible to take part in such a special sport that will forever be close to my heart. 

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