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Fitness 101: Playing women’s rugby in Singapore

We’ve all heard the stereotypes, but what makes a woman don shoulder-pads and studded boots to go charging about a rugby field? We caught up with Canadian WENDY CHIA, who plays for Bedok Kings first women’s rugby team, to find out what makes a “female rugger” tick.

How did you get involved in rugby?

I wanted to play varsity sport, but being vertically challenged, had to strike basketball off the list.  Then I saw an ad for rugby try-outs 14 years ago, and gave it a shot. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Why do you play rugby? What attracts you to the sport?

Well, short shorts and knee-high socks is a great look, don’t you think? Also, I like the shared responsibility of team sports because you can always blame someone else for losing! But seriously, I’ve made many good friends through the sport and needless to say, it’s a great workout as well.

Does tackling hurt as much as it looks?

Not really, but I’ve noticed it does hurt a bit more in Singapore than in Canada, because the locals are less “cushioned”. If you’re fit and know the basics, though, rugby is a fun and safe sport.

Are you worried about cauliflower ears?

Of course, which girl isn’t? And that’s why I play in the backs! Just kidding, but on the rare occasion that I play forwards, I make sure I protect my ears with a scrum cap.

How many pints do you drink in a session?

Not too many. Just like my rugby skills, my alcohol tolerance needs training.

After a tough weekend game, do you cover bruises and scratches with makeup, or wear them as a badge of honour?

Each bruise represents a memory of an accomplishment or an error in the game.  It’s nice to have visual reminders of these memories and also to recount the stories to people who ask.  So most definitely I wear them as badges of honour!

But do you ever wear high heels, slip on a dress and slick on some lip gloss?
Yes to all, but it’s not recommended on the pitch!  Off the pitch, we are just regular girls.

What are the team bonding activities?

We meet up for cheesy games like Pictionary and Wii, and we also go on team tours around Asia. We like to watch international rugby matches at the Bungy Bar with the men’s rugby team, and of course it wouldn’t be Singapore without a lot of eating!

What other sports do you play?

Generally, I’m game for any sport, but the ones I play more frequently are basketball, snowboarding, tennis and shopping. Yes, in this heat, shopping is a sport!

Could you beat up your partner?

In terms of mental strength, yes! I can play rugby, so I feel like I can do anything. It gives me the assurance that I’m a strong and confident woman.

Not at all! Most people I meet think it’s cool to meet a female rugger. Also, I like the look on their faces when I confirm that it is indeed full contact rugby.

Along with rugby, the Bedok Kings club supports netball, touch football and indoor cricket teams. Find out more at www.bedokkings.com .

Keen to give rugby a try? Email bkskyllas@gmail.com or call Sophie on 8180 9711.