Katy Daley-McLean says the tantalising prospect of this weekend’s Six Nations Final means there’s no better time for women and girls to give rugby a go.
And the Red Roses legend reckons the booming success of England Rugby’s Allianz Inner Warrior programme can blaze a trail in nurturing female talent as lockdown restrictions ease.
England face France in the revamped Women’s Six Nations Super Saturday showpiece bidding to make it three Championship titles on the spin at Twickenham Stoop.
The game will be broadcast live to the nation on BBC Two - with coverage starting at 1.30pm - and Daley-McLean hopes it can inspire women to get down to their local Warrior Camps.
Allianz Inner Warrior is a series of fun, social fitness camps for women all over the country and former England captain Daley-McLean, who racked up 116 caps and lifted the World Cup in 2014, believes the Red Roses’ success can provide a shot in the arm for the campaign to introduce women and girls to rugby.
The 35-year-old, who hung up her international boots this year and is an ambassador for Allianz Inner Warrior, said: “It’s massive.
“When people talk about things they want to be involved in, it’s about it being successful – and I think the Red Roses getting a good win against an in-form France side would be fantastic for the Warrior Camps.
“The Red Roses have been in great form and we’re starting to see so much more of that on mainstream TV. You want to jump on the back of that and for young people to want to emulate those girls.
“Girls will go: ‘I can do that, and I’m going to have a go at that.’ That will all be on the back of what could be a very good weekend for England.
“Allianz Inner Warrior is a fantastic campaign – not just for people who’ve played rugby but for a new person who might have an interest for the game.
“It’s the benefits of rugby all rolled into one – the option to meet new people, go out and socialise and be active. For me, they’re all the things I’ve loved about being part of the game.
“They’re a great opportunity to run around, get fit, play a different game and discover the social side of rugby – as well as all its physical benefits.”
Warrior Camps marry both the physical advantages of rugby with its fun, social benefits.
And as lockdown restrictions are lifted, they provide the perfect way to get active and boost endorphins after being cooped up at home for months.
The relaxed environment and clear emphasis on having fun with your teammates makes Warrior Camps truly unique, providing a fun and safe environment for women and encouraging them to learn new skills.
Over 150 local rugby clubs around the country – a record – have signed up to host a Warrior Camp in May – from Torquay to Gateshead, Cinderford to Ipswich and Maidenhead to Macclesfield.
Even if – like Daley-McLean – you’ve hung up your boots, Warrior Camps are a great way to ease yourself back into the sport, make new friends and experience rugby’s distinctive range of benefits.
Daley-McLean, who still stars for Sale Sharks in the Allianz Premier 15s, says the programme is a gamechanger and Warrior Camps around the country can be a breeding ground for new talent.
“In the future, this is where you’ll find the talent and next stars of the game – in camps like this, where people start going down with their friends and picking up an appetite for rugby,” she added.
“It’s what’s going to get women and young girls into the game – it’s easy, sociable and fun.
"It’s a win-win – you’re getting people active and outside, and you’re getting people into the game. It’s a brilliant campaign.”