Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current sporting role
When I was younger, I was a junior hurdler and then later switched to having a career in rugby. I since have played for Saracens and represented England in the 2014 Rugby World Cup. I now coach young girls in the U13 – U18 at my local rugby club.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I didn’t, no. However, I always chose work that would fit well around my rugby career as with that, comes a lot of time spent training. When I first started playing for England, the team wasn’t professional and we had to do all of our training alongside regular jobs which was really tough.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Yes, I have faced many challenges during my career. From not being selected for a team, injuries which have set me back and devastatingly losing my mum to cancer.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
It has to be when we won the Rugby World Cup in France back in 2014. It was a euphoric moment which I feel so unbelievably lucky to have experienced.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Determination and not ever giving up. I have always found the motivation to keep pushing myself and keep going. Finding the motivation can often be a struggle, but if you look hard enough, it always comes. There have been some low points where I wanted to quit, but I have always persevered and carried on going when others may have simply given up.
It is regularly talked about that a lot of women are put off by sport and exercise – how can we change this?
It is definitely a case of encouraging women to try a multitude of sport and exercises. There is something out there suited to everyone and I would encourage anyone to try as many as they can and they will fall in love with one they really enjoy.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I think there’s a real place for mentoring within the sporting world. Learning from people who have experienced situations which can help guide someone and can give them an insight into what they may face or how to deal with certain situations is extremely important for development. I have never had the opportunity to mentor someone, but would love to!
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
It would be giving female sports teams a better platform for people to support them. Those who watch us play rugby and support us are amazing and enjoy it, however unfortunately we receive a consistent amount of negative comments from those who have rarely ever watched us! Female tennis players receive amazing support and viewing figures as it is much more accessible to the watch matches during competitions like Wimbledon. I would love to see the same eventually happen with rugby.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Do what makes you happy! Life is too short to worry about what other people think!
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
The 6 Nations is the next big tournament, and the World Cup is at the end of this season which I am really excited for. I am looking forward to what the future holds but I hope it will involve the fitness space much more.
Follow Vicky at @vickyfleetwood_
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