Rugby Union: East London Ladies celebrate Team of the Year award

East London women's rugby team collect their Team of the Year award

East London women's rugby team collect their Team of the Year award - Credit: Archant

Local team collect national honour at Twickenham

East London Ladies Rugby Club are celebrating their success after winning a prestigious prize at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards at Twickenham.

The club was presented with the Old Mutual Wealth Women’s Team of the Year award at the home of English rugby on September 1, at an event attended by England internationals Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Alex Goode as well as members of the Olympic silver medal-winning rugby sevens side.

Formed only five years ago, the club has achieved three league wins and two promotions, and last season, won National Challenge London 2 with 13 consecutive victories.

And having beaten off stiff competition from five other nominees to win the award, captain Ciara Baxter admits the memories of the night will stay with her forever.

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“We started five years ago with a couple of ladies who wanted to play rugby connecting with the University of East London team, and initial training sessions would have about five players,” she said.

“In the last five years, that has progressed to more than 20 players training regularly, with an official squad of over 30. We’ve won three leagues and been promoted in that time.

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“We’re on the cusp of being able to create a second team which is phenomenal in such a short space of time.

“East London isn’t a big rugby area, so for us and our club to be so successful, it’s great to get the recognition for it with this award.”

Now in its second year, the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards are designed to honour the achievements of all the thousands of rugby clubs up and down the country.

The Awards provide recognition to clubs and players at every level of the game, as well as those who invest their time and energy into the sport in other ways.

And for Wasps and England international James Haskell, who won the Zebra Architects Professional Player of the Year prize, the awards are the perfect celebration of grassroots rugby.

“It’s amazing to have won, I never really win any award so it’s very humbling,” said Haskell, who was part of England’s RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam-winning team earlier this year.

“I had no idea I was going to get the opportunity, and see how much it means to everyone else who won awards.

“Rugby wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have the amazing grassroots elements to it. I grew up playing at Maidenhead Rugby Club since I was five years old, and if you go into any club round the country, they live and breathe what the national team do.

“Everyone is an aspiring professional rugby player and some of the older guys probably still think they should be, so I’m really flattered to be at these awards and I hope grassroots rugby keeps growing and growing.”

For more information about the National Rugby Awards, please visit the Website

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