Sunderland women's Rugby team in action against Teesside in their first league game

Sunderland women’s Rugby team in action against Teesside in their first league game

University of Sunderland women’s rugby president Clarissa Murphy points to the evidence of her side’s progress this season.

Sunderland found it difficult to keep up with their rivals at the start of the campaign but finished strong with performances to be proud of at the season’s close.

Murphy, speaking about this season’s development, said: “There is evidence of how far we have come this year.

“From starting out against team’s such as Teesside where we struggled to the giving them a good competitive game at Varsity.”

Sunderland were on the wrong end of a 45-12 loss to Teesside University in November and when the two sides met at Varsity earlier this month the score line was visibly closer.

Teesside picked up the win but the game was by no means comfortable after Sunderland managed to close the gap in a 24-15 defeat.

A win against the University of Hull is Murphy’s stand out moment of the season. Sunderland went into the match against Hull with one player less than their opponents that day but pulled off an upset, winning 24-20.

“The victory over Hull was one of the highs of this season as we were scrapping for players on the morning of the match and we went there and proved a lot of people wrong,” Murphy said.

Rugby president Murphy admitted she found it hard to find players to commit to the squad but revealed the satisfaction she felt seeing her team enjoying their rugby.

“It’s always a tough job to get girls to join rugby but it was fantastic to see the girls join and go from not knowing the sport to sharing out love for the sport,” she said.

Murphy already has one eye on next season as she plans to add to her side and improve on this season’s achievements: “For the girls next year it’s the same again, get more girls on board and get them loving and embracing the sport.”