RUGBY PLAYER, PHOEBE MURRAY
WSA SPOKE TO PHOEBE MURRAY
Tell us about yourself and how you got into your sport.
I’m Phoebe, a 22 year old rugby player for Bristol Bears Women. Alongside rugby I’m currently coming to the end of my 3rd year studying medicine at Bristol University. I started playing rugby at 6 years old. A lot of the boys I was friends with at school played and suggested I come along too! So my dad, who also played when he was younger, was very happy to take me along and I’ve never looked back since.
What do you love about your sport?
I love that rugby is for anyone. Doesn’t matter what size or shape you are, where you are from or if you’ve ever played before, there is a team for everyone. I love how much I get to express myself and how being a strong powerful woman is seen as a positive thing. It’s also a great stress reliever!
What are your career highlights?
My first game for Bristol in the Women’s Premiership the weekend after I turned 18, my first experience of women’s rugby and we won 86-3. That year we also got to the premiership final so to reach that stage at 18 was a great experience. Other highlights include playing for England U20s. In my first year we beat France away in France, which no other U20s side had done in the history of the team. Also captaining the side in our Canada tour where we won the Tri-Nations cup against them and the USA was pretty special.
What is your training schedule? And how do you prepare physically and mentally for competition?
So we train as a team 3 times a week preparing for our games on the Saturday. Alongside that we have 3 gym sessions a week and usually a few extra speed and skills sessions where I can!
I prepare physically and mentally by doing everything I can during the week so I can feel confident I’ve done everything possible for Saturday. It’s like studying for a test, if you do everything you can leading up to it you can be confident you’ll do well. This involves doing all the sessions I am programmed, game and training analysis, recovery between sessions and good sleep and nutrition. I also work with a sports psychologist to help me best prepare mentally.
Have you had any big setbacks? How have you overcome these?
The first year I trialled for England U20s at 17 I wasn’t successful but I used it as a big learning experience to know what I needed to work on to be successful the next time I trialled.
I’ve had a few injuries, I had bone bruising in my knee that kept me out for the first England U20 game and a few months of the Bristol season. I overcame this by trusting the process and doing what I could, making sure I put everything into my rehab and tried to come back stronger.
What is your next goal? How do you plan to get there?
My next goal is to play for the Red Roses and gain a professional contract. My plan to get there is to keep working on my weaknesses whilst reinforcing my strengths, being a key player and putting in great performances with Bristol Bears. My focus is also on doing everything I can with Bristol Bears to win the premiership.
How do you think women’s sport can get to the next level?
I think more exposure to Women’s sport is needed. I’m a big believer in that if you can’t see it you can’t be it. For me, growing up there was never any women’s rugby on the TV so I had no female role models growing up. Which is why it’s so important to me that women’s sport gets equal opportunity for exposure as men’s sport so that young girls have female athletes to look up to and aspire to be like. I also think there needs to be more funding so there can be more growth in the community and grassroots sport to increase participation.
What is your advice to young girls who want to make it to the top?
Take every opportunity you are offered and whatever sport you do, have fun and enjoy it!!
What is your favourite motivational quote, and why?
I have two…
What you do when nobody is watching is what separates a champion from everybody else.
Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.
I’m a big believer that work ethic will get you to where you want, and it’s what you do behind the scenes when no one is watching that makes the difference. Whether that be extra sessions, saying no to a night out to get a good night’s sleep and recover, or putting the effort in to eat good nutritious food. All the choices I make and the hard work I put in away from training is what contributes most to me achieving my goal of playing for England.