Fri, 12 Oct 2018
PLAYING at the highest level of women’s club rugby in the country, Cara Brincat has a lot to shout about at the age of 19.
The teenager from Newbury is playing for Worcester Valkyries in the Tyrrells Premier 15s – England’s elite women’s rugby competition – as well as representing her country at under-20 level.
The former Park House pupil first picked up a rugby ball during a PE lesson as a youngster and hasn’t looked back.
She joined Hungerford RFC soon after, where she had to contend with playing mixed rugby, before joining a junior side for girls, Newbury and Reading.
Showing talent from an early age, her first-choice university was obvious when the Valkyries – affiliated with the town’s university – were one of the 12 teams to earn Tyrrells status in 2017.
Last season was gruelling for the Premiership outfit, who ended up bottom of the competition in its inaugural year, managing a draw against Firwood Waterloo Ladies in the only game they did not lose.
Brincat’s youth is symptomatic of the evolving talent that Worcester boast, being one of five players to feature in her country’s under-20’s tour of Canada, which saw an unbeaten England take home the Tri-Nations title.
Playing for Worcester means rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the women’s game, including the likes of Harlequins and England World Cup winner Rachael Burford.
“We’re a young team who are still developing, but we’ve got another two years to get there,” said Brincat, now in her second year studying Physical Education and Sport Studies.
“Even though playing against the big names, it’s just another rugby game and I enjoy it.
“When you think of it like that, you kind of have your best game.”
With September’s announcement that the RFU will offer 28 professional contracts to England’s 15s squad, the allure of pursuing a career in rugby has never been stronger for emerging players like Brincat.
But the versatile flanker – who can slot in anywhere in the back row – is content with not setting herself up for anything too big, a mentality fashioned purely from her love for the game.
“Everyone has that major aim of making it into the England senior squad, but I just play because I enjoy it,” said Brincat.
“Playing for England is something I see as a bit of a side factor.
“If my rugby takes me there, then that’s great, but for now I’m just enjoying it and ‘being in the moment’.
“I can’t really ask for more than that.”
Proud to announce that I will be sponsoring @WorcsValkyries and England under 20's player @CaraBrincat for the 2018/19 season. Cara is a student at Worcester University and a resident of St John's. Pleased to be investing in the future of Women's Rugby pic.twitter.com/iCrhiGIRR9— Richard Udall, the Voice of St John's (@allray) July 26, 2018