It is time to back the women’s route to Rio

Leading the way: Richmond Women’s Abigail Chamberlain, left, captains the England Women Sevens squad at the IRB world sevens series in Atlanta this weekend    Picture: Getty Images

Leading the way: Richmond Women’s Abigail Chamberlain, left, captains the England Women Sevens squad at the IRB world sevens series in Atlanta this weekend Picture: Getty Images

First published in Rugby Union Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Richmond ladies head coach Karen Findlay has urged the borough to get behind her girls as they bid to reach the Brazil Olympics in 2016.

Richmond secured their fourth Women’s Premiership title in five years last month, but only have two current full England internationals.

They do, however, have a host of girls playing sevens rugby – which will be an Olympic sport in Rio – for their country.

England Women’s sevens squad, captained by Richmond’s Abigail Chamberlain, head to the next leg of the IRB world sevens series in Atlanta this weekend.

And 45-year-old Findlay, a former Scotland international herself, believes it is about time her players got the recognition they deserve.

“I’m forever going on about the fact that while men’s rugby around here gets a lot of coverage, none of them – with the exception of those at Harlequins – are representing their country,” she said.

“All these girls live in and around Twickenham and many of them will be Olympic athletes in two years’ time. There are not many male rugby players around here who can say they’ll be doing that.”

Findlay, who stood down as Scotland coach two years ago, has watched women’s rugby at Richmond grow beyond recognition during her time in charge at the Athletic Ground.

Success has not come overnight, but she admitted the dominance the club now has in the domestic league was worth the tough decisions made when she took the helm.

“Winning four titles in five years is a huge achievement,” she said.

“Seven years ago they were a young and developing squad, but they have matured and have performed very consistently over a long period of time.

“We are very lucky to have such a supportive club behind us from the board to director of rugby level.

“We are given as much as the men’s section in terms of back room support.”

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