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Six of the best to help Laura Bleehen lead by example at Cambridge University RUFC

Laura Bleehen in action for Cambridge University in this year's Varsity Match. Picture: Keith Heppell
Laura Bleehen in action for Cambridge University in this year's Varsity Match. Picture: Keith Heppell

Laura Bleehen has set out to maintain the rich legacy being developed by the Cambridge University RUFC women’s squad.

The 23-year-old Girton College medical student has been elected as the Light Blues’ captain for this academic year, and she is already steeped in Cambridge sporting experience.

Bleehen has earned two winning rugby Blues, and earned a call-up to the Wales squad for the Six Nations campaign last year.

“It’s really awesome,” she said, of being elected by her peers.

“It’s great to be able to feel like I can represent the team. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Cambridge playing Blues sports, and I just hope I can do the job justice because there have been some really great captains over the past few years.

“I’m just looking forward to getting started and leading the team.”

Bleehen, who will be supported by vice-captain Colette Russell and secretary Emily Bell, made the decision to stand for the captaincy with a vision of helping the team develop.

“I really like to be involved in helping newer players learning the ropes,” she said.

“Over the past couple of years I’ve learned so much about playing and watching rugby, and I think I’ve got a lot to give off the pitch as well as on the pitch. Off the pitch, I want to lead in a way that helps all our players develop their own individual games.

“On the pitch, I want to lead from the front – as always as a front rower – and I think I can do that.

“I know everyone is behind me on the team, and it’s good to know that. I’m just looking forward to it.

“This is my sixth year in Cambridge and I think I’ve got a lot of experience being a team member on a competitive Blues team and I want to see us continuing on the legacy of the last few years.

“The club has been really awesome in helping grow women’s rugby and it’s just exciting to get to be the captain this year, especially as it’s the 150th anniversary of the Cambridge club.”

The season will bring with it a number of different challenges.

The squad has lost a raft of experienced players who have graduated, so it may be a blessing in disguise that the Varsity Matches have moved to a spring date back at Twickenham. And Bleehen is hoping her own experience of converting to rugby after three Blues with the football team will come in handy.

“We’ve put a really strong Tigers team out for the seconds Varsity, a lot of keen new players and you never know what might show up when we run our development days as three years ago that was me – a keen football convert,” she said.

“It’s really awesome that we’re back in Twickenham for our big games in April.

“To be honest, it’s better for me that the games are in April just because of my finals in December. But also I think it really gives us the opportunity as a club to develop newer players more.”

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