Women’s Rugby Union Team Make History at Varsity

The Gryphons may not have retained their Varsity title, however Varsity 2019 shall go down in the history books; our women’s Rugby Union 1st team played for the first time ever at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

Leeds Varsity is the annual inter-university sports Varsity between arch rivals University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University. It began in January with the cross country and culminated, as it does every year, with the Rugby Union finale held up at Emerald Headingley Stadium where over 10,000 students cheered on their team from the stands.

Unfortunately for the Gryphons, Leeds Beckett have taken the title for this year. Lydia Evans, LUU Activities Officer said:

“Despite the result, it’s been a great day of sport for the Gryphons and every one of our athletes should feel proud to have represented their clubs.”

However, it was a historic moment for the women’s Rugby Union 1st team on Wednesday night, as they took to the pitch for the first time to compete against Leeds Beckett in front of the 10,000 strong crowd at Headingley Stadium. Ashley Ross, the women’s captain said:

“The experience of playing our varsity match with such a huge crowd was incredible, and not one that any of us will forget! It’s a special honour, especially for a university team, and it’s especially significant for us as a women’s team as we often struggle to get the same status as men’s sport. It feels like a massive step forward for gender equality and women in sport – not just playing for our team but every other women’s team who hasn’t had the same opportunity as men. Even though Beckett are our rivals, it’s a great achievement for them too. Winning was an amazing bonus on top of that! We’ll all definitely be celebrating tonight! The opportunity to play in the stadium is one we have been working towards for such a long time now so to see it all come together has been incredible. Thanks very much to everyone who came to support us!”

Our Gryphons put on a stellar performance over 60 fixtures including athletics, handball, tennis and lacrosse. Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport commented;

“I’m really proud of all our Gryphons who played their best whilst representing University of Leeds. It was especially exciting this year to see our women’s rugby union club playing at Headingley with such great support from the student crowd.”

A full list of the results can be found here, and keep an eye out on our social media channels for photos and videos from the day. See you all again in 2020.