England World Cup star helps Sale Sharks launch Wirral rugby project

The girls at Oldershaw join Marlie Packer at a special training session
The girls at Oldershaw join Marlie Packer at a special training session
©Sale Sharks

Marlie Packer joined club coaches at training session for more than 20 girls and women at Oldershaw RUFC, in Wallasey.

Generous grant from DONG Energy’s Burbo Bank Extension Community Fund helping Sale Sharks Community Trust deliver girls’ rugby project.

Funding will also help coaches deliver walking rugby and disability rugby on the Wirral.

England World Cup rugby star Marlie Packer joined coaches from the award-winning Sale Sharks Community Trust as they launched a groundbreaking new project designed to get girls on the Wirral playing rugby.

Fresh from her starring role at the recent tournament in Ireland, Marlie ran a special training session for more than 20 girls at Oldershaw RUFC, in Wallasey.

And when the rain came, the 51-cap flanker, who played in England’s final defeat to New Zealand, led the youngsters and their families inside for a question and answer session.

The event was held at Oldershaw to mark the launch of a new 12-month project, funded by a grant secured from DONG Energy, which operates the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off the coast of the Wirral.

The grant of more than 10,000 pounds will also help the Trust deliver 28 weeks of inclusive tag rugby and walking rugby at Birkenhead Park RUFC, aimed at encouraging non-traditional rugby playing groups – like the elderly or disabled – to get involved.

Sale Sharks Inclusion Officer Vicky Irwin said: "We're incredibly grateful to Marlie for taking time out to come along to our launch at Oldershaw.

“The smiles on the faces of the girls, some as young as nine years old, tells you just what impact her being there had and how well the England Rugby team has inspired the next generation of girls.

"The women's Rugby World Cup has just finished and we saw how popular that was and how it inspired girls to pick up a rugby ball. With DONG Energy funding, we can now provide an opportunity for girls in the local area to become involved in the game and follow their dream of playing for England just like Marlie.”

During a lively Q&A, Marlie spoke to the girls about the heartache of losing the World Cup final, as well as her pride in receiving her 50th international cap during the tournament.

She also told the audience how she juggles her rugby career with her day job as a plumber with national home assistance provider HomeServe.

 “It was fantastic to go down and meet the girls and it was great to see their enthusiasm for playing the game,” Marlie added. “The women’s game in this country is only going to get bigger and bigger and it’s a real honour to be able to show the girls what they can achieve.”

Steve Fogg, Chair of Committee at Oldershaw Rugby Club, said: "We're absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with the Sale Sharks Community Trust in growing the number of girls locally playing rugby.

“The launch had 20 girls attending and having an England player of Marlie's stature was a huge bonus. It left the girls feeling inspired and excited about playing the game in the future.

"I can only see this project going from strength to strength over the next 28 weeks and I cannot wait to see the impact the project will have on our girls.”