30th Women's Varsity Match: Shuttleworth twins ready to take Cambridge University fight to Oxford
Double trouble will be unleashed on Oxford University in the 30th Women’s Varsity Match tomorrow.
Twins Jenni and Fiona Shuttleworth will line-up on either flank for Cambridge University, having only taken up the sport two years ago.
It was Jenni, who is studying medicine at Churchill College, that led the way, having picked rugby over powerlifting as her new sport when deciding to take up a new discipline on arriving to study in the city.
The event was a development day run by the university in the 22-year-olds’ second year, and Fiona was soon persuaded by her sister to come along.
“We have always been so sporty,” said Jenni. “Growing up was netball but our dad always taught us how to throw a rugby ball so we had the basics.
“I feel like because we had those skills to start with, we were able to progress quite quickly because we didn’t have to learn motor co-ordination and we were able to pick up the game.”
Fiona, a veterinary student at Pembroke, earned a Blue last year, starting at No 6, while Jenni came off the bench in the second half.
Fiona is back at No 6 and Jenni will be on the open-side.
Here, the twins give the rundown on each other, highlighting their strengths and personalities.
What skills does each bring to the rugby pitch?
Jenni: “I think Fiona is really good at dominance, and aggression. She is also really good at keeping the team together, recognising what has gone well and motivating people.
“But she also goes, OK we need to work on this and not being a downer but a motivator for it.
Fiona: “I think Jenni bring lots of aggression, and lots of fire. Particularly as forwards and back row, it’s what’s really needed. You also have really good communications so I always know if there is going to be an offload, if you’re there in support, I can potentially offload to you.
“That’s why I like playing with you because I know exactly what you’re going to do because you tell me and everyone. I know I can count on you to make the tackles and be there in the rucks.”
What is your temperament?
Fiona: “I think you’re much more of a tackling forward whereas I’m more of a rucking forward which works well as the break down is completely secure.
Jenni: “We both have similar attitudes towards the game in terms of getting the ball, and getting through. We have the same dominance and aggression in our carries.
“That’s our attitude towards it. If something goes wrong, Fiona is better at putting towards the back of her head and I’m less good at that. Then Fiona is there to say just shut up and get
on with it; so that helps as well.”
Growing up were you competitive against each other?
Jenni: “Yes, I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re here.”
Fiona: “Whenever, I saw Jenni working, I thought ‘I have to work now’.
Jenni: “There are four kids basically, we’re all very close in age, all boisterous so I think that’s where we get our fiery temperament from. We’ve got an older brother and younger sister and we’re all so close in age that everything was a competition.”
What are the major differences between you?
Fiona: “I feel like I can be a bit more serious. I can be ‘stop the chat’ we need to switch on in training.”
Jenni: “We’re very similar but I would say Fiona is much more level-headed on the pitch; I can let things get to me and it can really affect my play.
“I have had some injuries as well. I’ve got a hand injury so if anything happens like a knock-on which I’m not used to doing because I can catch, it gets to me straight away and so I need someone to grab me a bit; Fiona is quite good like that.
“And if Fiona does a knock-on it wouldn’t affect her like it affects me.”
Who is more studious?
Jenni:“In life, definitely me. On the pitch?”
Fiona: “On the pitch, we both work so hard. At the end of most games, I can’t smile because I literally have nothing left to hold my facial muscles. We both always give everything.”
What would be the attributes you would use to describe each other?
Jenni: “Sporty, funny, cool.”
Fiona: “We’re really outgoing.”
Jenni: “I would say approachable, fiery and ruthless.”
Fiona: “I would say we’re also really loyal.”