The Glasgow Warriors women’s team lived up to their name at their weekend match against Ireland’s Clovers. There were impressive scrums, high line-outs, and one Warrior, for lack of a better term, got rugby tackled onto her back, only to jump straight back up and continue to chase after the ball.

The women’s team debuted less than a month ago with the introduction of the Celtic Cup. A tournament that takes six women’s teams from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, a development tournament to increase confidence, coverage and viewership of the women’s sport. The long-term hope is to bridge the gap between the domestic and international games and make the sport more accessible to a wider group of players. With over 60 players having the opportunity from Scotland to compete in the Celtic Cup.

This was my first time watching The Warriors play and it did not disappoint despite the final score being 10-29 with The Clovers winning. The Scottish side played extremely well, some of whom had only started playing the sport a year ago.

The turnout was slightly disappointing, with the last men’s fixture having 900 fans in attendance compared to Saturday’s match having roughly 300. As the only person in the press box, I was treated to quite the spread and an extremely warm reception from the team, on and off the pitch.

The crowd may have been small, but that didn’t stop the players from putting on a show: “When you’re playing to an almost empty stadium you have to trust the process.” Explained Glen Tippet, head of Commercial for The Team, when we chatted beforehand about the hopes for the team going forward.

As the players from both teams headed onto the pitch, the home team’s fans roared. The pitch filled up with navy and red and the game kicked off.

Three minutes in, The Clovers score their first try and convert it into seven points.

I thought to myself as the game carried on in the first half, how do these girls keep their hair so well intact.

It wasn’t until minute 40 that Izzy Hannay crossed the line to score the first try for The Warriors.

At half-time, the score stood at 5-24 to The Clovers. Though the lack of points didn’t dampen the Warrior’s spirit, as the second half kicked off they brought the pitch to life. We would have to wait about 25 minutes for the next points to be scored. Unfortunately for The Warriors, they couldn’t stop The Clovers from getting their fifth try of the match.

Beth Blacklock brought it home two minutes later for the team. Scoring a try on her first appearance for Glasgow Warriors.

As the whistle blew to mark full-time, the final score was 10-29. As the crowds cheered and welcomed both teams off the pitch I made my way to the sidelines to soak up some of the atmosphere. As I approached with Craig Wright, Media Manager for Glasgow Warriors, we could spot a few of the players bashed and bruised, but still smiling.

Chris Laidlaw, Head Coach, on the performance during the match and his hopes going forward: “Look we’re disappointed, no getting away from that. There were a few moments in the game that slipped away from us, we just spoke at the end about how we could stay in the game for longer periods of time, and keep up the momentum. It’s a young and inexperienced group that is improving every week but the challenges keep coming thick and fast,

It’s huge to see that people are coming out to support the team in the first year, it’s exciting for us all. From a rugby perspective, it’s picking up pace and we expect the support will keep growing, and it gives us that push to keep improving. It’s an exciting brand of rugby and we want to be a competitive team which will happen as we continue to play and learn and improve.”

It’s a pretty quick turnaround with the team heading to Wales this weekend before the competition splits off and they then have two more matches to play, so there’s plenty to look forward to and be excited by these challenges that come along.

Emma Turner, Second Row and Captian of Glasgow Warrior Women explains the team’s motivation to carry on despite the disappointing results: “We’re obviously a bit gutted after the game, we’ve been building together and gelling as a group through the whole process of The Cup. We were really gunning for it to be a good match for the home crowd. We put in one hell of a shift and there are so many positives despite the result on the scoreboard,

I can’t wait to see what’s to come and to be at the start of it all is so rewarding. If you told me when I was 15 that I would be playing for Glasgow Warriors against some of the best women in club rugby I’d call you mad. To be one of the first on this pathway, that other girls and women don’t think it’s crazy to play for the best teams in Scotland is why it’s all worth it. To bridge the gap and make it more accessible for girls to stay in the sport gives all a goal that we know we can achieve.”

Apologies if you were coming here to hear about a glorious victory that exceeded all expectations. That somehow, a team that has only been playing together for one month came up against a team with six international players and a lot more practice to win, you’ve come to the wrong place.

This isn’t a story about victory, this is a story at the beginning. It’s a story about a team just starting, but soon enough we’ll have the scoop and the headline will be ‘Warriors Win’ (again). That’s why we’re here to continue the fight for women’s place in sports, for the little girls out there to have someone and say, if she can do it, then so can I.

If you’d like to follow the warriors on their journey you can check out their Instagram, and if you’d like more information on getting involved yourself in rugby, check out sportscotland’s club finder.

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