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Image of Caroline Reid, Anna Wilson and Heather Britton

Meet the Jesuan women playing in the Varsity rugby match

This year's Women's Varsity rugby match is being held for the first time ever at Twickenham Stadium, alongside the Men’s Varsity rugby match. Three Jesuan women and two Jesuan men are playing. Find out more about: Caroline Reid (2010, left), Anna Wilson (2010, centre) and Heather Britton (2013, right).

Caroline Reid, 25, Veterinary Medicine, Jesus College

How does it feel to be part of the first Women's Varsity rugby match at Twickenham?
It's a huge honour to be representing Cambridge in the first Women's Varsity rugby match at Twickenham. I'm very excited to play at such an incredible venue, with a great team and on an equal footing to the men

What have you been doing to prepare for the Varsity match?
Physically there have been lots of gym sessions on top of our team training sessions and specifically I've been developing my speed and explosive power. As a squad we've been working on our psychology to mentally prepare for the challenges of the day. We've also been spending lots of time together which has been great, I love playing in a team which is full of so many amazing, interesting and slightly crazy women.

How long have you been playing rugby?
I've only just picked up rugby this year, having transitioned from rowing. I went along to a few touch sessions before the summer, I loved it and haven't looked back.

Do you play for the College as well as the University?
I played my first match for Jesus College a couple of weeks ago, which was great fun. I'm looking forward to more matches next term.

Tell me something I might not know about you, or about rugby.
I'll be listening to 'Remember the name' by Fort Minor to get in the zone ahead of the game on Thursday.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Jonny Wilkinson is my sporting hero. When I was struggling with injury a couple of years ago a friend sent me his Adidas poster which lists all his injuries and emphatically states that he never lost heart. I printed it out and have had it on the back of my door in College ever since, so that I see it every time I leave my room to go to training. I also really admire his work ethic, I've always tried to train with a similar outlook - people may have more natural talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to be working harder than you.

Heather Britton, 21, Natural Sciences, Jesus College

How does it feel to be part of the first Women's Varsity rugby match at Twickenham?
It feels absolutely amazing! It's a historic event for women's rugby and it is an honour to be playing at such a prestigious venue. I can't wait to show everyone the high standard that our women's rugby team plays at. Hopefully it will encourage other girls and women to take up the sport.

How long have you been playing rugby?
I've been playing rugby for about five years now, although prior to this year I had only played sevens. Playing with a team of 15 is a big step up, and for me makes the game much more enjoyable as there are so many ways to utilise the large number of individuals on the field.

I didn't join the team via an ordinary route as I was unable to attend the pre-season training. I went to the development days held by the University rugby team, and was invited to join the University team's training sessions. I thought I would probably be playing for the seconds team, so I am thrilled to have been selected for the Blues squad.

How do you think the match will go?
At the moment Oxford are above us in the league, but we have played almost all of the more difficult teams whilst Oxford have played comparatively easier matches. When we have played the same teams we have come out with better results. I think that we can win the match.

Do you play for the College as well as the University?
I am one of the College rugby captains this year and last year I played for the College team. The University has become much more involved with the College matches this year, so whereas last year we played sevens and in many ways the game was very different to the full game played by the University team, this year the College matches are played with ten. Lineouts and scrums have also been made more realistic in College games this year, and although there is obviously a gap in the standard of play between the College and University teams, this seems to be decreasing as the Cambridge University Women's Rugby Union Football Club (CUWRFC) gets more involved in setting up the College league.

Anna Wilson, 23, Veterinary Medicine, Jesus College

How does it feel to be part of the first Women's Varsity rugby match at Twickenham?
I think that all Varsity matches are exciting, and a privilege to be a part of, however playing at the home of English rugby for the first time ever will make this Varsity match all the even more special.

How long have you been playing rugby?
Since I can remember I have been throwing and kicking rugby balls around with my brother and school mates. I played sevens whilst at secondary school, but it was only in my fifth year (2014/15 season) that I took up full 15-a-side at Cambridge. I had played hockey for my first few years but turned to rugby after an injury break from hockey.

What have you been doing to prepare for the Varsity match?
I have had a hamstring injury for the past few weeks which has unfortunately scuppered my preparation for the match somewhat. Had I not been injured, I would have been doing two rugby training sessions, two fitness/weights sessions, one match and around three hours of additional kicking practice per week, in the four weeks leading up to Varsity.

Who is your sporting hero and why?
Serena Williams. She is arguably one of the best sporting stars that the world has ever seen. She has an unbelievable track record, remaining at the top of tennis for an exceedingly long time. In addition, she is an incredibly strong woman, with a complex personality, who has battled through mental and physical health problems. It is this which makes her such an important figure to me, and I think makes her someone who can be an inspiration to a lot of people, not just athletes.

Tell me something I might not know about you, or about rugby
The first career aspiration that I can remember having was to become a professional footballer. I think that I was seven or eight at the time.

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