We continue our profiles of the Ulster Women’s players with the newest recruit to the match day squad, none other than Ballynahinch RFC’s Brittany Hogan who starts on the bench this Saturday against Leinster.
Brittany first caught our eye at the Ulster training camp back in August but she was a few days short of her 18th birthday to enable her to play in the trials match, against Connacht, later that month. However, she had been making waves with the Ireland U18’s Seven’s team and was still young enough to play for the Ulster Women’s U18 team in their successful Interprovincial Series where she rally came to our attention.
A hard running centre she formed a formidable midfield partnership with Leah McGoldrick, easily the best partnership in the tournament, with their sound defence and storming runs giving Ulster a decisive edge.
Speaking about the U18 Series and her move to the seniors, Brittany told our reporter Neve Jones:
“It was my first year as part of the U18 squad and I thoroughly enjoyed the interpro series, and winning the Grand Slam topped it off. Having been injured last year I was keen to pull on the Ulster Jersey.
“I loved the competitive structure of the training sessions and having worked hard to earn my [underage]caps I couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and give the seniors a run for their money on the pitch.
“There is a lot of similarity between the U18 and Senior training sessions, but the Seniors are of higher intensity. The U18’s were very structured, which was key to winning each match, and I’m delighted that the Seniors sessions are following the same pattern of organised training. There are familiar threads throughout the sessions which has helped with the transition.
“The faster pace of the senior game has forced me to adapt in order to match the opposition. There are bigger tackles, faster passes and more movement of players, but I’m loving the challenge.
“The physical and mental challenges that rugby brings are what I’m most looking forward to and the chance to play against new people every week is exhilarating and I’m looking forward to testing myself against such high talent from other teams.”
I suspect Brittany will be meeting those challenges head on in the years to come! 🙂