Peo­ple will take us more se­ri­ously now

Be­ing paid is great, but pro­fes­sional sup­port in the gym can take us to next level, says Sarah Mckenna

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union -

When peo­ple ask me what my job is and I say “rugby”, they still look at me like it is a hobby and I have to ex­plain that it is my pro­fes­sion, it is my work. I am cen­trally con­tracted by Eng­land and also have a

con­tract with Sara­cens, where I now earn a re­tainer and match fees.

It takes time for peo­ple on the out­side to un­der­stand, but more and more women are start­ing to have rugby as a ca­reer. When you are earn­ing money play­ing, peo­ple take you more se­ri­ously.

I would not have seen this change hap­pen­ing in clubs three or four years ago. But, as the league is so com­pet­i­tive, it means that clubs have to bring in new ways to beat one an­other. That is the way it is go­ing, they are in­vest­ing in it and this is how Sar­ries see a way to com­pete for more ti­tles.

It is not only the fi­nan­cial sup­port that is im­por­tant with this. There is the med­i­cal as­pect and strength and con­di­tion­ing. Pre­vi­ously, peo­ple were spend­ing their own money on phys­ios or pay­ing for a trainer at the gym. If you wanted to take the step up to the next level, play­ers would of­ten Rais­ing stan­dards: Eng­land’s Sarah Mckenna be­lieves pro­fes­sion­al­ism will make the league more com­pet­i­tive pay for time with a trainer one on one. Pay­ing for gym mem­ber­ships is quite a nor­mal thing; it is some­thing now that the girls no longer have to think about. The fi­nan­cial el­e­ment also helps with things peo­ple on the out­side might not think about, such as the cost of get­ting to train­ing. That would have been a worry for peo­ple be­fore be­cause you travel an hour and a half or two hours to get to the club.

It is an­other big pos­i­tive.

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