Sarah Bonar: The will and the want
As Scotland head further into their TikTok Women's Six Nations campaign, for any international player, games like these are a special life moment, such moments that Sarah Bonar has been chasing to achieve.
Scotland Women lock and RAF recruit, Sarah Bonar, who was also a geography teacher and a GB Junior International rower, said: ‘I studied down at Hartpury College where I was also a rower and involved in the GB set up age groups, that had Danielle Watermen as a mentor, and she was also coaching the women’s rugby programme at the time, so she took me under her wing."
"Then after a few years I became quite miserable with rowing; I just missed being in the team environment but still loved being competitive."
"So, I then joined Litchfield Rugby Club, around about the same time as Rachel Malcolm did, and from then I haven’t looked back.’’
From starting her rugby journey in 2014, it only took Sarah two years to flourish in the forward pack and make her debut for Scotland Women. That occurred at the 2016 World Cup qualifiers in Spain, after coming on as a replacement.
The Aberdonian then went onto feature in every game of the 2017 Six Nations and made her first start in the championship against England at Twickenham Stoop.
"I came into the sport pretty late, but I had the will and want behind me,’’ she said. ‘’And rugby is such an exciting game, so as soon as I started it I knew I was really going to enjoy playing.
"My time at Litchfield was stacked full of outstanding rugby players, and that really helped me learn and develop quickly.
"Then my first Scotland camp came around after being put in contact with [then Head Coach] Shade Munro and that’s were my journey to here has continued onto – it’s just amazing to be a part of the team and see the game grow.’’ Sarah added.
Sarah’s inspiring rise in rugby has seen her play for Premier 15s sides Loughborough Lightning and Gloucester-Hartpury. Before joining Harlequins ahead of the 2021/22 Allianz Premier 15s season.
Despite missing out on the chance to help her team defeat Colombia that qualified them for this year’s Rugby World Cup, and then putting up a good fight against England in their first match of this year’s Six Nations, due to injury and RAF commitments, Bonar commends her fellow teammates and coaches on the willpower shown in the past several months.
"Unfortunately, I was coming back from an ankle injury in December, but the whole team have been incredible and it’s just nice to see all of our hard work is being recognised."
"We knew England was going to be a tough game, they’re number one in the world, but as a squad we’re all there for each other and we work to improve.’’
"Honestly having crowds back is what makes the game for us. They’re essentially your 16th player on the pitch, and our experience and belief leans on the crowds too."
For the Scotland team, preparation and support is key, and by having crowds back on home turf it has helped the squad stay motivated in their plan of action for the rest of the tournament.
Showcasing a never-ending stream of talents, in the last two-years Sarah also made a career change, to ending her time in the classroom to now being a member of the RAF squad.
‘’I’ve always had the itch for military work, but straight from university I went into teaching as I didn’t want to take the time away from rugby to complete my officer training, due to the time and if I picked up any injuries that could bar me from passing the medical tests.
"Then covid hit, and I took it as an opportunity to be productive and apply as an officer in the air force – It gives me as close to the same buzz as I get from playing rugby, and that’s what I’m grateful for.’’
Bonar returned to the Scotland squad to feature in the game against Wales in Cardiff and after completion of her RAF training, she is now on athlete exemption so she can pursue her rugby ambitions this season.
Hear more about Sarah's rugby journey in her Moments That Made Me feature below.