First female rugby president a historic conversion

The new chairwoman of Broughton Rugby club, Rebecca Long. Picture: Toby Williams
The new chairwoman of Broughton Rugby club, Rebecca Long. Picture: Toby Williams
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A SCOTTISH rugby club has elected a female president for the first time in its 89-year history - despite having no dedicated facilities for women players.

Broughton Rugby Club in Edinburgh has named Rebecca Long as successor to Grant Hutchison, who is leaving after two years in charge.

Ms Long is not only the club’s first female president, but at 30 years old is also the youngest person to undertake the role.

Originally from Ardfinnan, County Tipperary, she moved to Scotland in 2006 to attend Napier University, where she took up the sport.

“I came to it quite late, most girls do,” she said. “They play up to the age of 12 with boys and there’s not really an inbetween stage. I had never touched a rugby ball before I came to Scotland.”

Ms Long, who is a civil engineer currently working on the new Forth crossing, started playing at Broughton Rugby Club with friends, and as a founding member of the Broughton Women’s team has played a major part of her side’s rise through the leagues since its formation in 2009.

Her appointment comes amid growing pressure on sports clubs to abandon their male-dominated access policies and open their doors fully to both sexes.

Some of Scotland’s most exclusive golf clubs continue to refuse membership to women players.

Ms Long, one of only a handful of female presidents at Scottish rugby clubs, said she was “honoured and privileged” to have been elected, and that she hoped to use her position within the club to promote the sport and encourage other women to get involved in playing.

Mr Hutchinson described his successor as “the ideal choice”.

While the club does not currently have any dedicated facilities for women, Mr Hutchinson said they had been looking at building extra changing rooms.