As part of our continued development of Women’s Rugby in Ulster, Team FRU invited along a couple of up and coming Ulster Players on our summer trip to help cover the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship in Narbonne in the South of France and the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Paris.

The objective was to let the players experience big ticket rugby events and to give them an insight to the media work behind our coverage.

Both the players, Vicky Irwin and Beth Cregan, were encouraged to play an active part in our coverage and after being shown how the journalist’s role and the photographers role worked in the Pool Stages of the U20 World Championships they were let loose to cover the Paris Sevens.

Below, in their own words, is how they got on.

Vicky Irwin (Media)

When I started 15-aside rugby I was also immediately drawn to the 7’s game as well. I liked that in every game there is skill, pace and big hits. Paris 7’s was no exception to this.

First up on Day 1 was New Zealand vs England, this game included many women, that as a younger player, I look up to. I was told I could pick the person to interview and of course I picked Portia Woodman, legend in both the 15’s and 7’s game.

We also interviewed Charlotte Caslick, Alev Kelter (for Brittany), Michaela Blyde, Emily Scarratt and Emma Tonegato. All players played a massive part for their team throughout the tournament.

Being part of the media team during this competition felt cool, you ran round with your badge and you could get in behind the scenes. In the stands I could hear the commentary being done for the live stream and how enthusiastic they were for each game.

Being up in the media area also meant that I had legends such as Lynne Cantwell, Maggie Alphonsie and Joy Neville casually walking by you.

It also gives you an idea of how many volunteers there are behind the scenes of such a massive event. All of which were kind and down for a laugh and this made the event a lot more enjoyable.

Being behind the scenes I also got to see how different teams are before they go out to the pitch, for example Australia, the team which won the series, had 9-5 by Dolly Parton on and where dancing, in comparison Canada where on their knees in a huddle. Both teams are world class so it’s interesting to see the comparison.

Watching the games live was also unreal especially for the France games as the atmosphere felt like a World Cup Final.

Thanks to the FRU for a great experience.

Vicky helped prep our head journalist Ross Barnett and recorded and edited the following videos of some of the leading stars in the Seven’s game.

Beth Cregan (Photography)

I was taught how to use the camera, and this was trialled at the Safari park in France on one of our rest days.

John was pleased with my photos and I was allowed to photograph some of the U20 Games before covering the Paris Sevens.

This was a completely different experience to what I am used to. It’s usually me harping on at John to get the photos edited so I can use them, whereas now I am the one getting the “perfect“ shot and then having to edit them.

It was a good experience comparing shots with other photographers at the tournament and sometimes, on my first real experience, my photos would be better than a regular photographer! It’s a real rush after the game to try and get your shots online ahead of the competition. You take hundreds of shots a game and there is a lot to sort through.

I really enjoyed covering the game from the photographer’s perspective. Sitting pitch side, I got to see world class tries up close and the camera also allowed me to see things I wouldn’t have seen from the stands or from a tv screen. It provided a unique experience.

Where I was photographing on Day 2 was right below the Kenya fans. They made the Kenya games seem like the match was taking place in Kenya. Their support for their team created an unreal atmosphere through singing songs, chanting and banging of drums. Such noise!

I’m surprised about how quickly I picked it up and it was great to use professional cameras. Thanks to the FRU, at this tournament, the student became the master.

View Beth’s coverage below, just click on “More” to view any of the galleries.

Paris Women’s Sevens Day 1

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Paris Women ‘s Sevens Day 2

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Great stuff from both!

The Front Row Union are constantly looking for female players to contribute to our coverage in Ulster and the rest of Ireland. If you are interested in getting involved, and would like to work at one of next season’s major finals please email john@thefrontrowunion.com with your details. 

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