How did you first get into rugby and how much has the sport changed since you first started playing?

I started playing when I was aged nine, and as there were no girl's teams for that age range, I had to play with the boys. Now there are county teams, divisional teams, and international teams so there are many more pathways and opportunities for women and girls of all ages. We are also seeing a lot more exposure of the women's game in the media, on television and on social media, with the England Women's team being recognised as much for their World Cup victory last year as the men.

Kim Oliver
Kim Oliver

What does your coaching role at Bath involve? What does a typical day look like?

I work in the Community department at Bath Rugby, so I run sessions in primary and secondary schools in Somerset and Wiltshire, focusing on helping to get children interested in the sport and improving their skills. We also run match day clinics at home games, which sees teams come from all over the world to have a coaching session with us before staying to watch the Bath Rugby game in the afternoon.

How have you found the difference between playing and coaching other players? Do you prefer one to the other?

I knew the time was right to for me retire, so the transition from player to coach has been a little easier. I loved playing rugby, but I find it really rewarding to pass on my knowledge and passion for the game to the younger generation, and help them discover how much fun it can be for themselves.

What would you most like to achieve through your role at Bath?

The main thing is making sure children are introduced to, and enjoy playing, rugby.

What tips or advice would you give to any women who are interested in playing rugby for the first time?

Just give it a go! Rugby has a position for every shape, size and ability and it's a great way to make new and lifelong friends.

What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about the sport?

That you have to be really masculine to play - you don't. And the injuries. Yes, broken noses, bruises and cauliflower ears are possible in rugby, but you're just as likely to get them in other sports like hockey and lacrosse.

What kind of training, fitness regime and diet do you need to play rugby?

You need to be healthy! Eating lots of protein and vegetables are really important in all sports. Your body has to be prepared for the game you are playing and the energy you burn, and you need to eat and train right to deal with the physical demands of the game. 'Prehabilitation', such as balance and core stability work, are also key to building the hidden strengths that will prepare you for the game.

When I was playing for England, we used to train in the gym in the morning and rugby training in the afternoon for five days a week, have Saturday off and then play on Sunday.

You've played in a rugby World Cup - what was that experience like? And do you now draw on those experiences in your current role at Bath?

It is an amazing experience - you go to a World Cup with your best mates, knowing that you have all worked so hard to get there, and you are all dreaming of and determined to lift the cup. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do that but I was in the crowd when England won in 2014 and I couldn't have been prouder of the girls!

I don't really draw on it in a direct sense, however in subtle ways I think it would come in - installing the same principles of the game into the children that we used to play by will help make them enjoy the game in the long run.

What are the standout moments from your playing career that you will always remember?

Playing at Twickenham is always an awesome experience. Also playing against the Black Ferns (New Zealand) who, much like their male counterparts, have been a formidable team for so many years! I was lucky enough to play them and beat them at Twickenham, which is a memory that will always stay with me.

Bath Rugby's men's team had a successful 2014/15 season, with various players winning individual awards too. Who from the team are your favourite players or are the most exciting to watch?

Leroy Houston is my favourite player, not only because of his brilliant work on the pitch but also the effort he puts in off the pitch with the supporters - all the boys are fantastic with the supporters, but he always has a smile for people after the game, even when they've lost. I find the Bath numbers 10,12,13 (fly-half George Ford, and centres Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph) extremely exciting to watch - they are so talented and unpredictable, you think something is always going to happen when they've got their hands on the ball.

Next season is Bath Rugby's 150th anniversary. Are the club doing anything special to celebrate this landmark?

There are lots of activities planned throughout the year, starting with our 150th Community Festival on Saturday 8th August. It's a free day at the Recreation Ground, and we're inviting families to come down and have a go at rugby. We'll have different skills clinics being run by the players for the children to take part in, so they can learn from the team themselves, and there will be Q and As with the first team coaches, as well as lots more.

The Rugby World Cup arrives in England this September. If you're not a traditional rugby or sports fan, what should you expect from the tournament?

A day at the rugby is a great family day out - you'll get some fantastic games of rugby, the passion of the supports of each nation, and a bit of friendly rivalry!

Which team do you think will be England's biggest competition to win the World Cup?

Every team has the potential to win a World Cup, therefore every game will be hard fought! I am sure they will be looking at each game as it comes, but obviously they have a really tough group with Wales and Australia in. It's hard to look past the All Blacks though - they're a superb team who know what it takes to win the trophy.

Which Bath Rugby players do you think will make the biggest impact at the World Cup?

I think George Ford and Jonathan Joseph have a fantastic understanding of each other and how they play - Jonathan seems to be able to read George's body language and therefore be in the right place to receive the ball whilst keeping the opposition guessing.

Francois Louw, who is South African, is a world class back row player and can disrupt any team on the day. His ability to get to the breakdown and turn the ball over is second to none.

Kim Oliver is a Community Rugby Coach at Bath Rugby, who were established in 1865 and are one of the oldest rugby clubs in England. The Club is celebrating its 150th anniversary in the 2015/16 season. For more information visit

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