Ruggaworld this week is privileged to speak to what is becoming a growing phenomena in the world of rugby: a female rugby nutter! We love hearing from fans of the game and this week we speak to Elaine McAllister from Scotland:
Elaine’s is a great twitter account to follow @Elamay99 so please do not hesitate to follow her. But first:
1) Its refreshing to hear a woman talk so passionately about the game and Scottish Rugby in particular. Where has your love for the game been fostered?
I have always been involved in sports however rugby was not the most prominent activity in the area I grew up. It was really when I was completing my undergraduate degree in Aberdeen that I started going along to the prem 1 games for fun and from that I developed my real passion for the sport, it is now a hugely important to me and I am very glad that I made that decision on one beautiful sunny afternoon. It is everything about the sport that really resonates with me, the tactics, the physicality, the environment, the fans, it has become my family and having this passion gives me the opportunity to make new friends all around the world because the rugby family are a very special bunch J Interesting that you should mention the fact I am a woman though because I have never seen myself as being separate from any other fan. I feel, in Europe anyway, that there are an equal number of women to men. I have travelled to games, both in the rabo and international, independently and have never felt like I was walking into a male dominated arena. Actually I would happily say, particularly international matches, it is more about families than gender. I think the SRU and the clubs themselves make rugby very accessible to everyone.
2) Allan Solomons is but one of the many exciting new acquisitions of Edinburg Rugby this season. Are you guys finally gunning for silverware?
Alan Solomans seems to have his head screwed on; I am excited to see how this new coaching team comes together and which direction they are going to take the team. I am happy to have Solomans on board this year, apprehensively though, as huge promises have been made before so I will hold back on the full emotional commitment until the bright lights have settled a little. Are we gunning for silverware, one day, but not this year. I think we, as fans deserve a solid consistent performance year and personally I would rather go to the rugby every week and see a team that I want to support, the fancy baubles can come later. I think the boys need that as well getting a solid team with everyone to the same level playing and the same type of game everything else will come naturally after that.
3) You tweet often about the Heineken Cup and your concerns that its being strangled out of existence by England and France. Why is this competition so important to Scottish rugby and perhaps European rugby in general?
Hahahahaha… yes I do feel very passionately about so I occasionally send a tweet or two. The Heineken cup and Amlin cups are wonderful tournaments that have seen me travel throughout Europe to follow my team, and what really frustrates me is that England and France pulling out is, in my opinion, financially based. The Aviva and Top 14 represent a single, individual rugby union each, both looking to increase their share of tickets, broadcast right etc by having more teams in the tournament however their justification is the it’s not representative given that the Rabo doesn’t have a relegation, besides the fact that there would be no where for these professional teams to go as the Rabo countries are not littered with Semi-Professional teams, unlike England and France, the issue is that they seem unable to see beyond the domestic leagues. The Heineken cup is a European cup, and as such it is the Unions which are represented by their professional teams it is not a domestic league competition, England and France choose to use their domestic league to select who goes through to the Heineken but Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Italy are unable to do this as all their professional teams play in the same league, our domestic league is already an international league.
4) The match between the Boks and Scotland was a close affair last year. We particularly remember the beautiful try you guys scored from a line-out set piece. Would you say this year will be even closer or has the Boks since edge ahead in your opinion?
Yup I remember that game very well, it was perhaps a little unfair to lose that game, I genuinely believe we have a chance of claiming this win. If we smarten up our act a little and not give away so many penalties, learn to play your game a little, we will take this. Scott Johnson has been doing a fantastic job, both as head coach and Director of Rugby. But if we do lose, it is not sore, the Boks have the number 1 sport in SA, a huge player pool and the financial backing, I would be more concerned as to why, since we have met over the last 2 years has we been so difficult to beat? We have less than half of the resources but our skill and physicality matches yours. Talent???
5) Did you play the game yourself?
No, I am a girl, I play Netball. I just wasn’t an option when I was growing up or even when I was at university. This is a new to me movement and one that I am happy to support but not partake in.
6) Who is your favorite player right now and why?
From where?? Scotland and Edinburgh I would have to say Matty Scott, he is young but I think incredibly understated, consistent in his development and game play. He creates some beautiful plays but never seems to get the headline, definitely my favorite.
7) Unfortunately for most of us Scotland represent something between a very cold rainy day and a scene from Trainspotting. Why do civilized people continue to inhabit the land?
That’s funny because my image of SA is similar constricted a land of wild animals and machete killings!!! Scotland is a beautiful country, with a wonderfully unique culture, the people are fantastic we have a wonderfully quality of life. Free health care, free schooling to a tertiary level, free eye test, free water (there are bonuses to it raining a lot you know) low crime rates. I can walk down most streets in the country and be able to start a friendly conversation with someone. I live in a town where stranger say hello to you, check if you’re alright if you haven’t taken the mail in etc. Why would I not live here. Also I am Scottish and Scotland is home. Come over and see!
RW note: We would love to! Thanks so much Elaine.