Women's Sport: Elinor Snowsill sees a bright future for women's rugby

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Wales’ fly-half, Elinor Snowsill, has won 56 caps for her country over a career that spans more than a decade.

Sitting down with WalesOnline's Welsh Rugby Podcast this week the Bristol Ladies player shed light on the condition of women’s rugby and her belief that rugby has the power to change young people’s lives.

“It's at the cusp of turning professional, Hopefully, the standard continues to rise and more unions jump on board and turn their teams professional. I think it's only going to go in positive ways.

"The real difference that rugby can give that other sports can't is that it can literally be for people of all body shapes and sizes. That's why women's rugby will really push on forward," she told the Welsh Rugby Podcast.

Using rugby to help young people

Snowsill also spoke about the power she feels rugby has to make a difference in young peoples lives, something she has experienced as a mentor for the charity School of Hard Knocks. School of Hard Knocks aims to use rugby as a means of personal and academic growth in secondary schools and Snowsill is the lead for the girl's rugby program.

"It combines everything I love. I love dealing with teenagers and challenging behaviour but also through rugby,"

The 30-year-old believes that rugby is uniquely positioned to offer young people who might struggle with their emotions or anger, a place where they can use their emotions positively.

"It teaches you respect and discipline and putting your body on the line for each other. It brings something out in the people we work with.

"Seeing the kids' switch in mentality when they realise they can do what they love, get their aggression out and someone says well done at the end of it, that's why it works so well."

Changing training programmes according to periods is a "game-changer"

There has been some expectation that women's sports are expected to grow in the same way as their male counterparts have done in the past. The news that Chelsea's women's side were adapting their athletes' training in line with their menstrual cycle to enhance performance was one of the first examples of teams understanding the challenges women face.

Chelsea Women v Manchester City Women - FA Continental Tyres Cup Semi Final

Snowsill says she believed that move was a "game-changer" for women's teams especially since training plans have often come from men's sides and expected to work for women.

"It's something we as players need," she told Welsh Rugby Podcast. "It [your period] massively affects you."

"Because we're in a minority sport, it's probably been a case of 'this is what worked for rugby players so we'll do it for you.

"It really does affect us and it's good that people are talking about it now and acknowledging that female athletes are at a disadvantage because they have to go through this every month."

The Barbarian believes that implementing an awareness of the impact of periods on female athletes will create huge benefits for women's sport.

"I think it's going to have repercussions not just in the next few months, but in years to come."

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