From Rowing to Rugby

From Rowing to Rugby

​After making her debut for Scotland Women against Spain in the 2016 World Cup qualifiers, Aberdeen-born lock Sarah Bonar is looking forward to the exciting year ahead for the national team.

For the Scotland team, preparation is key, and Bonar commends the coaches for their work.

Rugby isn’t the forward’s only commitment though - she is also a secondary teacher in Loughborough. Even though it means she’s constantly on the go, she enjoys it and felt like it was a good distraction when injury hit previously.

Bonar said: “It does keep you busy but the first half of the season I did pick up and injury, so it was actually quite nice to have something to keep you focused and not get too sad about not being in South Africa. Having that work to kind of escape and switch off from rugby was quite helpful.

“My students love that I play for Scotland.

“Obviously they’re all English so ahead of English games, that’s when the chat really amps up, but they’re really supportive.”

Bonar then continues to talk about having a teacher attitude, but not only when she’s in the classroom.

“The only time my teacher side has come out in training was recently in camp. Someone was trying to get a message across, and no one was listening, so I was just like ‘OK everyone just take a seat’ and everyone was like ‘the teacher’s speaking!’.

“In terms of leading people and knowing how to communicate effectively with different sorts of personalities, it transfers both across the classroom and the pitch.”

Left: Bonar training with GB Juniors (right), Right: Bonar racing for Loughborough University (second left)

However, rugby wasn’t Bonar’s first love: “I used to row for GB Juniors, and it wasn’t until my final year of university where I found myself in a bit of a hole with rowing.”

A coach at Hartpury College, where Bonar was studying for her A Levels and rowing, was where the opportunity of rugby came about. England Women and 7s player Danielle Waterman was the rugby coach at the Hartpury College, where Bonar was rowing and studying. The two were close, with Waterman being a mentor to Bonar.

She explained: “It was Danielle Waterman who said: ‘Why don’t you try rugby?’ So I did on a break from rowing to see if I missed it and I was like ‘wow this sport is amazing’!”

She “grew up with an Olympic dream” in rowing but “didn’t enjoy the individuality of the sport” so turned to rugby where “your teammates have your back so much”.

Looking back at her time in rowing and the Olympic dream she had, it’s a different kind of dream for her now.

“I have a got a World Cup dream now, for sure.”

Scotland return home to Scotstoun Stadium to take on France on Saturday 7 March (kick-off 19.45pm), find tickets. Kids for £1 tickets are available with a paying adult ticket until midnight Friday 6 March, U12 tickets increase to £5 on match day.

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