It is a common question now, “Girls play rugby?” A few years ago in Lebanon, the question may not even have been asked. IC integrated girls rugby into it’s athletics calendar at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. It has since grown exponentially - from four girls to almost 20 who are committed to the team. IC was the first school to have a girls rugby union team in Lebanon, and has paved the way for other school-aged girls to pursue the growing sport. There are now a total of six under 18 and under 16 girls’ teams in Lebanon.
Tarek Mousally, Athletics Director, and Richard Bampfylde, Head of IC Rugby, gave the go-ahead to Nichole Swink, PE instructor, to tryout promoting and coaching the new sport. She was keen to give more opportunities for involvement in sports to girls. “I knew the girls at IC possessed the potential to make up a good team; I just needed the bodies to coach and help them realize that potential,” Nichole stated. “Rugby is a sport for all. It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are tall or small, there is a position for you. It is a sport that promotes equality, teaches resilience and empowers it’s participants to be better and stronger. It is a sport that ensures the players have friends for life and more importantly a family world-wide.” As rugby, particularly girls’ rugby, grows in Lebanon, it is good to know that IC played a large role in encouraging that phenomenon.
Each year the rugby squad (girls and boys) travels to the UK to participate in training sessions with and matches against schools and clubs there, creating new friendships abroad through rugby. Typically the U16 boys team are entered into the Rosslyn Park rugby sevens tournament each year, the world's largest schools' rugby tournament. This year, for the first time, we are also entering a girls team. The dates for the next tour are 22-30 March, 2019.
Watch this space for more and more news from girls' rugby, and rugby in general, especially as the school kicks-off its first practice (or try-out) tonight!
IC Player Testimonials:
Yara Melki: “Whenever I tell someone that I play rugby, they always ask me, “You? How do you play rugby?” It’s always a surprise to them. And that’s what I love about it. Women’s rugby isn’t very popular in our country, and doing something that isn’t “normal” or common is something that I love because I can prove them wrong and prove that everyone is able to do what they want if they put their mind to it. I feel like I’m empowering women when I play rugby. And it’s not only that, rugby is a family, and no other sport has that kind of bond.”
Lana Kamareddine: “For me, rugby is not just a sport; it’s a family.”
Loubna Chehab: “Before I came to IC, my dream was to play rugby. I just didn’t have the opportunity. IC gave me that opportunity and two years later here I am living the dream.”
Nicole Nasrallah: “Rugby is honestly one of my favorite things to do in life. One main reason of why I play is because it is a great stress reliever for me. Also the teams that I have had the chance to play with have been so welcoming into the whole rugby community, and between my coaches and teammates, it has become my family.”
Hiba Dakik: “Rugby helps release stress after a tiresome day of school, and it helps bring together different people through teamwork.”
Grace Moucharafieh: “The rugby team and community is one unique to IC. There is nothing like it, everyone supports each other and the team spirit amazes anyone who encounters it. I love the sport, and I love the people.”
Lea Bdeir: “I’ve been on so many different teams inside and outside of IC, but I have never felt as happy and proud to belong to a team than I have been in rugby. The sport itself is new and challenging, different from the typical sports, and the team encourages each other rather than competing to be the best. We help each other improve and cheer each other even if we fail.”
Suha Wazni: “Between school work, activities and other sports, I’ve only ever been fully dedicated to rugby. I keep playing because I know there's always room to improve. And this improvement was never to be the best player or the coaches favorite, but because I actually care about rugby. It’s a stress-reliever and definitely the most exciting sport I’ve ever played in all aspects.”
Leila Hammoud: “I remember the first time I considered rugby. We were in PE and Coach Nichole asked if I’d be interested, and I was already all in. From the first practice, I knew that it was the sport for me. On the field, our opponents are our enemies. But as soon as the referee blows the whistle, everything stays on the pitch. It made me gain so much more appreciation and respect for athletes in general, my team and my opponents. It gave me a family, motivation and something to look forward to.”