Ta­mara Tay­lor

Age 35 (8 Oct 1981) Born Ex­eter Club Dar­ling­ton Mow­den Park Coun­try Eng­land Po­si­tion Lock

Rugby World - - CONTENTS -

TA­MARA TAY­LOR is one of only three play­ers to win 100 caps for Eng­land Women. ahead of her fourth World Cup, she talks us through her rugby jour­ney…

I grew up in Zam­bia and Botswana.

I was born in Eng­land but my par­ents then moved over there for work. I was only three when we left Zam­bia so most of my mem­o­ries are of Botswana.

A piece of my heart will al­ways be in Africa.

I’m not african but grow­ing up some­where you feel an at­tach­ment to it. It was an amaz­ing out­door life­style. you’d eat out­side, play out­side – great for kids.

I played every­thing when I was younger.

ath­let­ics and swim­ming were my two main sports, but any team sport that came along I’d get in­volved. Mum was a PE teacher so there was lots of af­ter-school sport.

I started play­ing rugby by luck more than any­thing.

there was no rugby at my sec­ondary school but my brother, Ja­son, was play­ing at Hen­ley and heard that they were start­ing a women’s team, so I joined them. rocky Clark joined too – she was 16 and I was 15. My first time on a rugby pitch was with rocky!

I’d al­ways wanted to play rugby be­cause my brother played.

We went to the same school, Or­a­tory, and they didn’t have a lot of girls’ sport. I tried my best to run around with the boys and get in­volved where I was al­lowed. I was the an­noy­ing lit­tle sis­ter who wanted to do what­ever he was do­ing.

Rugby was a game that made sense to me.

If you want the ball, you go and get it. If some­one’s run­ning, you stop them to try to get the ball. It made more sense than net­ball, where you have to work out which third you’re stand­ing in.

I started off as a back, ei­ther on the wing or at cen­tre.

then two years in one of the coaches said, “I think you should move into the for­wards.” I had no idea what I was do­ing – I’d just fol­low the ball! I re­ally en­joyed be­ing in the for­wards; it was con­stant ac­tion. all that time wasted in the backs!

I got in­vited to Eng­land Stu­dents tri­als when I was 17 or 18.

I was in my last year at school and had just moved to the for­wards. I still didn’t know what I was do­ing but I got se­lected. I played one game as

I had a lot go­ing on with a Lev­els.

Then I went trav­el­ling and didn’t play for a year.

But when I came back I went to New­cas­tle univer­sity and started play­ing there. I got in­volved with the Eng­land acad­emy, the a team and then the se­nior team.

I also played rugby league for Great Bri­tain Stu­dents.

the uni had a re­ally strong men’s league side, so a few girls started do­ing it and we did quite well in a few com­pe­ti­tions. a few of us got se­lected for gB stu­dents and went on tour to rus­sia. It was a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence. I think both codes can learn from each other.

I was pretty ter­ri­fied when win­ning my first cap in 2005.

I was a non-play­ing re­serve for the first test in New Zealand. I hadn’t had any ex­pe­ri­ence of the Black Ferns and watch­ing I just thought, ‘My god, this is tough’. I played in the sec­ond test, com­ing on af­ter about 60-65 min­utes, and just got my head down. We per­formed much bet­ter in that game – it was a mas­sive learn­ing curve.

Re­lief – that’s what I felt when win­ning the 2014 World Cup fi­nal.

Hav­ing lost the pre­vi­ous two fi­nals, at the fi­nal whis­tle I was think­ing, ‘thank good­ness’. It was a good ex­pe­ri­ence on and off the field, and what I share with that group of girls

Go-for­ward En route to a grand slam win v Ire­land, 2017

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