World class athlete gives Cornish students an insight into women’s rugby

Students at the College got an insight into the life of a female rugby player when they were recently joined by professional rugby player and Truro College alumni Deborah Wills (Née Fleming), for an insightful virtual talk.

Deborah, who is from Penzance and was a student at the College in 2007 where she studied Sport’s Performance, spoke to the students about her career journey and experience playing professional women’s rugby. 

After many years spent competing in athletics and playing netball with the College’s Netball Academy, Deborah made the transition to women’s rugby while studying Sport and Social Science at the University of Bath, and at the age of 21 she started playing women’s rugby in a professional capacity.

Some of her career highlights so far include scoring a maiden try against Russia in the Bronze final during her World Series debut tournament in Dubai in 2016, as well as becoming England’s highest points scorer in the 2018 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series. She is also currently training for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics as part of the England Sevens team.

Students were joined by professional Rugby player and Truro College alumni Deborah Wills, for an insightful talk.

During the talk, the Olympic hopeful gave the students an insight into her career journey, as well as the day-to-day life of a rugby player, which includes daily psychology meetings, physio sessions and match analysis lessons. She also spoke about what keeps her motivated and how she deals with pre-match nerves.  

Deborah’s success as a young, female rugby player from Cornwall left students feeling inspired, particularly those who hope to follow in her footsteps.

Level 3 Extended Diploma student Paige, who is from Redruth and is currently training with the Exeter Chiefs Academy, found Deborah’s story really motivating.

Paige said: “I found the talk with Deborah really helpful because I’m playing for Exeter Chiefs Academy for the Centre of Excellence so it has really helped me to look at where I could go in the future and it’s really inspired me to achieve this.” 

A Level student Hannah, who is from St. Austell, also found Deborah’s talk really insightful.

She said: “The talk was great. It’s great to learn about the journey and pathways a professional athlete in this sport can take. And I found the advice on pre-match nerves to be super helpful”.

As a Rugby enthusiast, Hannah was excited to discover the Women’s Rugby Academy when she joined the College in September. She said: “I am really enjoying the Academy. It’s great that we get three sessions a week and they aren’t just rugby training. We also get gym sessions and the opportunity to play with the boys. It really helps to build our confidence.”