With the first ever Women’s Barbarians Game set to take place this weekend, we have been speaking to our very own Wasps Legend, Claire Purdy, who forms part of the inaugural black and white Women’s team to take on Munster.
Claire, more commonly known as “Purdy” or “Penguin” on the field, allegedly retired from Rugby after the 2015/16 season. Before this she had made a substantial contribution to the Women’s game throughout her time at Wasps and with England. Picking up the sport at University aged 21, it rapidly became more than just a weekly hobby. Following her participation in the England Student set up, Purdy went on to gain her first Cap for England in 2005 at Hooker. Since, she has added another 42 caps to her name including two appearances as Captain for the Women’s team against South Africa.
“Being appointed the honour of captaincy is always a proud moment but I would say being selected for two World Cups is my proudest moment of my England Career”.
Purdy joined Wasps FC Ladies in 2002 where she was coached under Giselle Mather. During her time at Wasps she has been an invaluable member of the squad, not least, contributing to their numerous past achievements in the Women’s game. True to the Wasps motto “once a wasp, always a wasp”- 15 years later and you will find the pair back at Twyford Avenue with Giselle Mather as Director of Rugby and Purdy regularly walking out with the black and gold army in the new Tyrrell’s Premier 15’s competition.
“Its a really exciting time for everyone- Tyrrell’s Premier 15’s is pushing players to meet new levels of professionalism and the training mentality is similar to that at an international level…”
Aside to the new competition and an excuse for another retirement party, the opportunity to be part of the first Women’s Barbarians team played a large part in Purdy’s return to the game. Barbarians fixtures allow for a different style of rugby to that played throughout the normal rugby season, exciting to both watch and play!
“… You meet the day before and it can be pretty frantic trying to learn how people play. But, its a chance to have fun and really play what you see…”
Wasps legend, Fiona Stockley has been the driving force behind the Women’s Barbarian side and has worked incredibly hard to get it to this point. There has been a huge growth in women’s rugby over the past year and with the recent launch the new competition, this event couldn’t come at a better time!
Its been an honour having Purdy back on the pitch with us this year and we are thoroughly looking forward to seeing her pull on the famous black and white jersey with fellow Wasps Vicki Lee Jackson and Tova Derk this Friday as they take on Munster.
Updated 12:15 - 5 Feb 2018 by Amy Wigley