We talk to professional rugby player, Lindsay!
In case you hadn’t noticed, Rugby fever is taking over Hong Kong this week! The Hong Kong Tens and Rugby Sevens are the talk of the town, and we can’t wait to watch the games, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the festive spirit.
Read more about the Hong Kong Sevens here.
To coincide with the start of the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament (Thursday, 7 April, 9am – 6pm and Friday, 8 April, 8.30am – 3.30pm with the Cup Final at 5.24pm, Hong Kong Stadium), we decided to catch up with professional rugby player Lindsay Varty, who will be playing for Hong Kong at the Sevens this year. We chat to Lindsay about her rugby career, her thoughts on women’s rugby in HK and around the world, and how she stays motivated… best of luck to our Hong Kong girls today!
You come from a rugby family. Did this encourage your interest in rugby? What drew you to this sport over others?
Having a sporty family definitely got me more interested in sports on the whole. I used to play hockey and netball and do athletics too in school, but my rugby soon became the most important one to me. I started when I was 13 years old after always watching my brother play and I thought it looked like fun, so a few other girls and I started our own team at Kai Tak (what is now USRC Tigers). I liked rugby the most because I got to run around and tackle people! It was something new and I found I was quite good at it. Also I really loved my rugby team mates.
You’ve played at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens for the last couple of years and had to be on the pitch, do you ever miss the social aspect (or the South Stand revelry)?
Luckily for the women, our tournament finishes on Friday afternoon so we are all pumped up and ready to go on the social side of the men’s tournament! It’s very serious for us until the tournament is over and then we can go and have fun. I wouldn’t miss it. I have actually been to every Hong Kong Sevens tournament in my life!
Which of the skills that can be acquired through rugby are transferrable to everyday life?
Team work, communication, leadership skills and discipline.
We’ve all had those moments where we just can’t be bothered to go to the gym/exercise. How do you stay passionate about training and motivate yourself even on days when you really don’t feel like doing it?
Sometimes it is very hard to stay motivated in training, but when your goal is something you love and it’s your job, you just remind yourself that it will all be worth it and you just do it. Coffee helps too!
What do you think about women’s rugby in HK vs around the world? What do like about the rugby community in Hong Kong and what do you think could change?
We are very lucky in HK that there is a progressional women’s set up – that’s something quite rare for women’s rugby around the world. Also, the women’s rugby community in Hong Kong is just so happy and welcoming, lots of girls join clubs every year and end up staying. I think that says a lot for how friendly rugby girls are! There’s no bitchiness like some other sports. As women’s rugby progresses, I think we’ll start to see a lot more talent coming up through the ranks and the women’s league will be a lot more competitive.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a professional rugby player?
Training every day! It’s tough to keep going sometimes when you are sore or tired, but it’s a job so you must keep motivated. Injuries are also a big problem – having a big injury can put you out of action for months or even a year in bad cases. I had surgery to fix a dislocated shoulder about three years ago and I didn’t play full contact rugby for nine months.
Which rugby player or athlete do you admire most and why?
I’d probably say my brother, Rowan! He’s the reason I first started playing and I like his style of play. He’s quite little but makes a big impact and never gets scared of bigger players. His skills are good too. But perhaps I’m biased!
Is there an age cap with professional rugby? If so, how would you continue your love of rugby beyond that?
You’re only as old as you feel! We have some girls in their late 30s in our team so I’ve still got a good few years in me I think! But there is a lot of young talent snapping at our heels these days so we’ll have to see. Once I finish professional rugby, I’ll still play for my club. I think one of the reasons why some girls stop playing rugby is that they want to have babies; being pregnant doesn’t work well with contact sport!
What are your long term goals and what would be your dream team to play for?
As cheesy as it sounds, I guess I’m already playing for my dream team alongside all my friends and for my home city! But I would love to get a chance to play alongside some women’s rugby greats like Jen Kish and Ellia Green.
If one of our readers wanted to try rugby/join a team, what would they need to do.
There is a summer course for total beginners that they could sign up for, or just turn up to any of the clubs’ trainings and introduce yourself! Every club likes new players and would be happy to have you. Come to my club – USRC TIGERS!
And finally – what advice would you give to aspiring rugby players?
Work hard in training, be confident and do it because you love it.
Catch the Women’s Rugby Sevens today at King’s Park Sports Ground from 9am – 6pm and at the Hong Kong Football Club tomorrow from 8.30am – 3.30pm. The Cup Final will be at Hong Kong Stadium at 5.24pm, so if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, make sure you head on over to give the HK girls your support!