England star Vickii Cornborough set to help Portsmouth Valkyries grow the women’s game at grassroots level this weekend
Portsmouth Valkyries are pushing to grow their women's section ahead of the upcoming season.
The ladies team, based at Portsmouth RFC’s Rugby Camp, are putting on a 'turn up and try' open day this Saturday, July 3.
Open to female players aged 18 and above, England and Harlequins Women star Vickii Cornborough - a former Portsmouth player - and club team-mate Elley Bloor will be offering expert coaching on the day.
Portsmouth Valkyries head coach Mark Witcher, whose first team play in the women's rugby third tier, is hoping grassroots rugby and Valkyries can follow the trend of the female game at higher levels and attract increased interest.
He said: 'It’s an opportunity for girls who are either completely new to rugby and want to see what it’s all about or girls who are new to the area and want to find a new club - that’s really what it’s for.
‘The RFU are really passionate about the recruitment and retention of women in rugby, as are we.
‘As the Premiership and women’s rugby is becoming more out there in the media and more public knowledge, then we want that at grassroots level as well.
‘For us, we’ve ran them in the past (open days) and they’ve gone really well.
‘The idea for us is to throw our doors open to any women 18 or above in the Portsmouth area who want to come down to the rugby club for an hour-and-a-half and really just see what it’s about.
‘We’re trying to push on and the club are really supportive of what we do.
‘They hold us in the same esteem as the men; even though there are quite a few more men’s teams, there is never an us or them.'
As well as the club's Women's Championship South West 2 first team, Valkyries also run a second team.
The 'turn up and try' open day runs from 10.30am-12pm at the club's Hilsea base.