South Leeds Rugby League World Cup Festival

Girls from six local high schools took part in a recent Rugby League Festival ahead of the Rugby League World Cup which is being staged in Britain later this year.

Girls rugby 1The Festival took place at South Leeds Stadium, the home of Hunslet Hawks and 70 girls aged 11 to 15 came from Cockburn High School, South Leeds Academy, Bruntcliffe High School, Morley Academy, Corpus Christi Catholic College and Woodkirk Academy. There were two age groups: Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 & 10. Bruntcliffe won the Years 7 & 8 competition with Royds being close runners up. The year 9 & 10 age group saw Royds take victory winning all of their games and the runners up were Cockburn.As well as the team competition, the girls were also aiming to receive individual awards as ‘Star Player’. There were presented to the girls by Hannah Bairstow, England Women Representative and Laura Wilson, Hunslet Hawks Girls Head Coach. The winners of these awards were:

  • Royds 7&8: Izzy Mcglinchey
  • Bruntcliffe 7&8: Leah Markham Smith
  • Royds 9&10: Anesha Cooke
  • South Leeds Academy 9&10: Amelia Kuyatch
  • Cockburn 9&10: Kaitlyn Gannon

Hunslet Hawks South Leeds Development Officer Lois Forsell has been coaching girl’s rugby league in local schools since January. Lois delivered an eight week coaching block to Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 with the help of funding from Sport England’s Sportivate programme. Commenting on the project Lois said:

“Some of the girls had never played rugby before, so delivering the project has given a lot of girls a massive opportunity to get involved in rugby league and enjoy the experience. All the girls played excellent showcasing their rugby league skills and how much they have developed throughout the coaching block.

“The funding from Sport England has allowed a lot of schools to receive an excellent rugby league experience and engage with rugby through a female coach, which makes a massive difference.”

Teams from South Leeds Academy and Cockburn High School
Teams from South Leeds Academy and Cockburn High School

The girls who have enjoyed their rugby league experience have been provided the opportunity to move on from school rugby to play at their local girls’ community rugby club: Hunslet Hawks Women & Girls. These sessions were attended by Lois to provide a familiar face and led by head coach Laura Wilson. On the launch of the junior girls team following the coaching, ten girls turned up and enjoyed their first community club rugby experience with twelve girls currently involved! This is a massive improvement and has provided the girls with a great opportunity to fulfill their rugby league potential, gain friends, keep active and engage within something that can provide lifelong skills!

Hunslet Hawks Girls train on Wednesday’s 6:00 to 7:00pm. Meet in the Phoenix Bar at South Leeds Stadium at 5:50pm ready to start training at 6:00pm. For more information email: