By Richard Sykes

Women’s rugby is one of the fastest growing participation sports in the land and the recent thrashing of world champions New Zealand by England’s ‘Red Roses’ in the two autumn internationals underlines the current strength of the game.

At a local level, Huddersfield RUFC’s women’s team has just celebrated its first anniversary. Launched during lockdown in 2020 with just a couple of interested individuals, the squad has grown quickly and the team can now count on 14 regular players.

Head of women’s and girls’ rugby at the club, Jess Bunyard, has been the driving force behind the growing success of the team. 

Huddersfield RUFC women

The talented and charismatic coach took to rugby in her time at Goldsmith’s College in London, where she studied Fine Art and Art History. 

Since returning to Yorkshire she has shared her love of the game through playing, coaching and her work in the media. She is the editor of Women’s Rugby Coaching magazine and hosts the Breaking the Pane rugby podcast.

READ MORE: More stories in our Huddersfield RUFC archive

Jess is currently studying for her doctorate in sport at Leeds Beckett University and in the process of completing her England Rugby Advanced Coaching badge. 

On her achievements Jess said: “I am so proud of the progress we have made in a year full of lockdowns. We have a range of women who have come along to try rugby for the first time and are loving it. 

“New players are always welcome. Whether you just want to attend Tuesday training to get fitter without playing matches or whether you’re looking to learn a new sport and want to play in our games.

“The sessions are aimed at women of all abilities and fitness levels and are accessible to women who are brand new to the sport. Training is free and anyone can come along and join in.”