A RUGBY union side is hoping to capitalise on the success of the England Women’s squad by reforming its own feeder team.

Witney RFC’s girls team was disbanded a decade ago due to numbers and RFU stipulations on banding with age groups.

However, a huge increase in girls aged between four and 11 playing rugby – inspired by the Red Roses – means the Witney Angels is again looking to form a feeder team through the Witney Cherubs.

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Witney coach Kate Nicholls, who plays for the Angels, told this newspaper: “We didn’t have an opportunity like this when I was younger.

“Ladies’ rugby is always looking for more numbers and the successful teams always have feeder teams.

“We used to have that with the Cherubs but that stopped about 10 years ago.

“For the last few years, the girls have been going to Gosford, but last year we put our toes in the water and wanted to see what could happen.

“We ran some fitness sessions and it was a massive hit, and the girls wanted to carry on so we’ve had a full year doing that.

“Parents are also wanting to get their children off the screens, and if you build it, they will come – that’s been our experience.”

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Nicholls highlighted that rugby can be for anyone, regardless of experience.

She said: “There’s a massive misconception that rugby is all about being bigger, but there’s a position for everyone.

“A lot of our girls had never picked up a rugby ball before coming to us, but now they’re so confident.

“There’s a position for everyone in rugby and you don’t need much experience because that’s what the coaches are there for.

“Witney is such a strong and tight-knit club, and you feel part of a home.

“You make so many friends, and get to socialise and play rugby.”

Fellow coach and player, Sarah Dunbar, added: “As with a lot of ladies’ sports, how well they’re doing spurs on the younger ones to get involved.

“There’s been a huge interest with how well the national ladies’ team is doing.

“We’ve done a lot of sessions in secondary schools and we want to do more after-school sessions.

“It’s another opportunity to form friendships away from school.

“The girls are at an age where they’re changing physically and mentally, and playing rugby allows them an escape and to form new friendships.

“The next step for us now is to hold matches against other teams.”

The Cherubs train on a Tuesday between 6 and 7pm at Witney RFC in Hailey Road.

For more information about the team, please email: witneyrfc@btinternet.com

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