Girls’ rugby squad gears up for George Tens

But lack of funds likely to throw a spanner in the works

With limited game time, any opportunity to play ball is to be grabbed with both hands, says Georgia Petersen, 14, a budding rugby player from Portland.

The teenager is one of 12 players from schools in Mitchell’s Plain selected for the Cape Regional Women’s Rugby under-16 and under-18 teams set to take part in the Africa Skills George Tens sport and lifestyle festival, at Outeniqua Park, in the Southern Cape’s Garden Route region, in December.

Georgia Petersen is one of 12 players from schools in Mitchell’s Plain selected for the Cape Regional Women’s Rugby team set to take part in the George Tens. Picture: Fuad Esack

Introduced to the game by former SA under-20 women’s player Leandi Smith, from Eastridge, the young front ranker has been playing the game for two years, saying she has an interest in all sports, including, netball, cricket and even athletics, but that rugby is her favourite.

Georgia Petersen, front row, second left, with her teammates. Pictured at the back is coach Jeanette Bailey, wearing the green T-shirt.

“For me it’s about spending my time with people that actually care about me, that wants me to play and when I play with my team all my worries goes away,” she said.

Portland rugby player Georgia Petersen playing a bit of touch with her younger brother at a park near the family home. Picture: Fuad esack

However, trying to raise funds to cover the cost of the upcoming trip remains her biggest headache. Thankfully, she says, she can always count on her close circle of friends and family for their support to ensure she gets to do what she loves best, spending time on the field with her teammates.

Georgia Petersen never misses a beat when opportunity to play ball comes knocking, even at the local park. She needs to raise a bit of funds to help her take part in an upcoming tournament in George. Picture: Fuad Esack

That said, the R4 000 due before the end of the month to cover travel expenses, accommodation and her tracksuit, remains outstanding and time is running out. As any young player might, she tries not to concern herself too much with money matters, instead choosing to focus on playing ball

“I really want to make Western Province for my dad, who died in June,” she said. “It’s been my dream, and his. Now I really want to make him proud and live up to the hopes he had for me,” she said.

Cape Regional Women’s Rugby team member Georgia Petersen hopes to make the Western Province team in honour of her father, an avid rugby fan who died in June. That same month the young player made it through the first two rounds at WP school trials. Picture: Fuad Esack

Mitchell’s Plain girls’ rugby coach Jeanette Bailey, believes Georgia has what it takes to go all the way. “She’s always eager to learn, always keen to try something new, always asking what to do next,” she said.

Mitchell’s Plain girls’ rugby coach Jeanette Bailey considers Georgia Petersen a hard worker with great potential. Picture: Fuad esack

“In June, she was selected to take part in the WP school trials for girls. She did very well in the first round and continued to round two,” said Bailey, who has worked with a number of players who have gone from complete novices to representing the province and even SA.

Georgia Petersen, a promising player with a bright future. Picture: Fuad Esack

“This will be our second year that the Cape Regional Team takes part in the George Tens. Last year we were the winners of the under-18 category. Our players come from all over Cape Town, the majority from Mitchell’s Plain, Paarl, Delft, Blue Downs and even the Northern Cape. I am super excited to train with this 30-member squad,” she said.

Coach Jeanette Bailey putting her players through their paces at a team-building workshop at West End Primary School, in Lentegeur, earlier this year. Picture: Fuad Esack

“The development of rugby, specifically women’s rugby in Mitchell’s Plain, has grown at a tremendous pace these past two years. High school girl groups are growing and we have under-14 players from Strandfontein, West End, Caradale and Cornflower primary schools. I am hoping to get more primary schools involved.

“We need to empower our girls by helping them develop in any sporting code they participate in. Rugby is a great sport… not just on the field but off field too,” she said.

Cape Town Regional Women’s Rugby team members at last year’s Western Cape 7s, at Athlone Stadium.

“The Cape Regional Women’s Rugby Project is an entity on its own and we rely on fund-raising.

“In order to make the George tournament a success, we need funding. With the support of the community and greater Cape Town, this can be a great success. We would appreciate anything anyone can assist us with to help make this trip a reality,” she said.

• If you can help, call Bailey on 074 529 9201.