Women’s Rugby: Linda Djougang’s journey from Cameroon to Twickenham

Linda Djougang

From Doula to Rush and now to Twickenham- Linda Djougang’s journey to the top has been all but straightforward.

Four years ago, the 23-year-old had never heard of Rugby, but now she is preparing to play at one of the sport’s most illustrious stadiums for the very first time. Djougang’s Leinster will face off against Harlequins at Twickenham later tonight and will be the first women’s club fixture of its kind held at the stadium. 

More than 70,000 tickets have been sold for the event already, which also features a men’s Premiership game beforehand between Harlequins and the Leicester Tigers, but fans looking to make it for just the women’s game will receive free entry.

“I can’t believe I’ll be playing at Twickenham,” Djougang told BBC Sport. “It’s mind-blowing. When I’m putting on my jersey, I look at it and think, ‘how did I get this far?’”

However, her dream has not always been to play Rugby on the biggest stage. “I remember going on YouTube and typing in ‘what is rugby”’,” she confesses. Arriving in Ireland aged just nine, Djougang’s sporting prowess initially saw her take up the shot put before she saw a tag rugby event advertised on the internet.

14 years later, Djougang has become accustomed to her new home and has represented Ireland on five occasions. She is forced to balance the rugby lifestyle with the final year of a general nursing degree at Trinity, but she is adamant that playing at Twickenham makes it all worth it.

“It shows young girls that this is the future. We’ll be able to go to England and play. We’re making history and that’s amazing.”

Kick-off between Harlequins and Leinster ladies is set for 19:15 tonight with Djougang named in the starting line-up at tighthead prop. Having worked so hard to get to this position, a win later would be the perfect culmination of an incredible journey.

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