Rugby player Jess Mclean-Wright is normally to be found every weekend leading Wymondham’s senior women’s team, the Wasps.
But now 22-year-old Jess has an extra role - helping to shape the future of the sport as part of the Rugby Football Union’s National Youth Council.
“It’s a real honour to be picked for this,’ said Jess. “I’ve been playing rugby for nine years now and it’s great to see how much the women’s and girls’ game has grown.
“With the current women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand it’s a fantastic opportunity to get more people involved with the game.”
The RFU’s Youth Council is made up of 11 people aged 18-24 and from all levels of the game. Their job is to help shape the RFU’s policies for the future of English rugby and to develop projects to encourage more young people to take up the sport.
Jess attended her first meeting at Twickenham in October. She said: “The women’s game is still a lot smaller than the men’s but that’s changing - and there are exciting opportunities for more people to get involved.
“We’ve now got specialist women’s coaching programmes being run by the RFU, and an increasing number of female officials within the game.”
Last season Jess was part of the “Empower Her” programme run by top London side Saracens, and she was mentored by a senior player from Sarries’ women’s squad.
“It inspired me to want to make a positive change within the community game, especially reducing the ‘gap’ between girls’ and boys’ rugby,” she said.
“Too many girls give up sport when they’re teenagers - and miss out on so many opportunities and friendships as a result. That’s got to change.”