Sunday, 30 January 2005

60 seconds in sport; Interview with Karen Findlay, the captain of the Scottish women's rugby team

What match are you in training for?

Friday's Six Nations opener against France in Roubaix Do you have another career outside of rugby?

I'm a sergeant in the Met, sitting exams to become an inspector. I'm originally from Cullen in the north east of Scotland, but now live in the shadow of Twickenham What is your earliest sporting memory?

Aged seven, stealing my dad's golf clubs and sneaking off to play at Cullen Golf Club. I could have fitted into his bag. My dad said there were worse things I could have been doing. I got my handicap down to seven Do you remember your first rugby match?

In 1988 I was at Richmond watching a women's game. My friends said I should give it a go, as I had the perfect build Who is your sporting hero?

David Sole. He was outstanding for Scotland and plays in my position Is there anyone outside of sport that you admire?

My mum for putting up with my dad What is your funniest sporting memory?

I was running out to play for Scotland in Spain but got my studs stuck in a drain in the middle of the pitch. It was live on Spanish TV, and friends said it looked like I'd been shot. I've never been so embarrassed What's the last CD you bought?

O by Damien Rice What's your biggest success?

In one weekend in 2001, I was in the Scotland team that won the European Championship in France, flew back to London and the next day was in the Richmond team that beat Wasps to win the English Cup final at Twickenham What hobbies do you have?

Drinking nice red wine, with good food and good company What are your ambitions?

To help this Scottish women's team achieve it's full potential. We've made huge progress, but didn't do well in the last World Cup and I'd love to go to the 2006 tournament What is your favourite piece of sporting memorabilia?

My European championship winners' medal and the first Scotland shirt I played in.

It was an A international in Wales in 1995 and we were staying in a pokey B&B, but we won the game Your worst sporting memory?

Losing away to Spain last season Do you have a nickname?

Jock If your house was on fire, what one item would you grab as you ran to safety?

My pyjamas. My bed is my favourite place How would you like to be remembered?

As a players' captain, someone who gave their heart and soul to the job and took great pride in pulling on the blue jersey of Scotland

Sunday Times (London, England) (Jan 30, 2005): p26.

Thursday, 20 January 2005

Teenage dream

THE growing popularity of women's rugby is reflected in the announcement of a youthful England team

for the Six Nations opener against Wales on Feb 4 in Cardiff. Six squad members are under 23, including Michaela Staniford (pictured), who will become

the youngest England international when she appears at outside centre.

The A-level student learned the game at Rickmansworth School and Fullerians, before joining the East Durham and Houghall Community College academy .

"Michaela is a natural footballer and very talented," Geoff Richards, the England coach, said. "Of course, she's inexperienced, but with the World Cup 18 months away now is the time for young players like her to get their chance."

Staniford will be 18 years and 24 days old when she plays against Wales, beating scrum-half Danielle Waterman, 43 days older when she won her first cap two years ago.

Richards believes the growth in women's rugby at clubs and schools has built a pool of far better players. In the past, women tended to start the game at university.

Daily Telegraph (London, England) (Jan 20, 2005)