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
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.