Wasps captain Kate Alder says ‘now’s the time to put women’s rugby on the telly’
Wasps captain Kate Alder says it’s time to ‘seize the moment’ and get women’s rugby on TV.
The Premier 15s, which returned last weekend, is only streaming one game per round at the moment on its website, social media and England Rugby’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
But Alder, in an exclusive interview with NewsChain, says the game has to break into TV.
She said: "1000 per cent [the Premier 15s should be televised]. You only have to look back at when everyone in the world was deprived of sport and then the German football league came back and suddenly the guys in my office were Nurnburg fans for the first time in their life.
"I think so many bad things have come out of Covid, but from our perspective as athletes we have had to work incredibly hard to be in a position where we can play where our fitness levels are where they need to be for these new laws.
"Loads of bad things have come out of Covid but this could be something really positive that comes off the back of it.
“It takes people to step up and say look we are going to support this and I think if you get it on TV with the games coming up, we're streamed this weekend and Wasps/Quins is always a really competitive game and I think it's going to showcase the sport in the best light.
"Let's face it people have more opportunities to watch, there isn’t loads of sport that is able to happen at the moment so why not use this opportunity as a springboard to get women's rugby out there.”
And she added it’s the perfect time as a break in men’s club rugby is coming up with the Gallagher Premiership final taking place on October 24.
"The women's game is really exciting, there are loads of elements that are similar but there are loads of elements that are different and we're the only rugby sub-section that are playing these new laws.
“So if people like fast flowing, quick, attacking rugby that is what they are going to have in abundance. For me it would seem a travesty to let this opportunity pass by, there are people wanting to watch sport and there's a really good level of sport being played - why not marry the two?”
Alder’s Wasps will be able to display that ‘good level’ of rugby this weekend in their first match of the season.
She is thrilled to get back on the pitch after their game last weekend against Bristol Bears was postponed due to a Bears player testing positive and several others had to self-isolate.
Alder has said while she was ‘gutted’ to not play she understands this season will be full of disruptions.
"I think we are fully, fully prepared that this is going to be part of the norm this season, I think we've got nine reserve weekends when we normally have two, so until we are there and the whistle has kicked off the game we are fully prepared for things to move and shake to make this league happen.
"Obviously we were gutted. I don't think we have played together since January 19th so you're obviously super geared up for a game but we understand why. We understand we have to play by the rules for this league to happen and it's a marathon not a sprint, so if one game postponed at the start means that we'll all follow protocol and people are in a good position to play the rest of this season then so be it.
“But don't get me wrong it was gutting because we were so excited and so ready but it is what it is.”
They will start their campaign against Harlequins on Saturday and with Quins playing their first match last weekend, does Alder think they have an advantage heading into their fixture as they have had a game to get used to the law changes?
"Yes and no. Yes because they've done the full thing, not even that but our protocol on match day is absolutely massive, so they've already been through that.
"But we didn't do anything last Saturday, it meant we ended up playing another internal game last Thursday and it meant we could analyse footage and use Saturday as a building block for us. So actually you could view it as a positive and a negative.
“Quins have got that first new era rugby game under their belt with the new laws and the new set up but actually we used the time really affectively and we're arguably more prepared now going into this week.”
The Premier 15s changed laws to mitigate risk against spreading coronavirus with the games now being 70 minutes instead of 80 and scrums and mauls being reduced.
The outside centre has said the new laws make the game much faster.
"It's quick! Obviously I'm biased as from a backs perspective we want to play rugby so having less scrums definitely made the game quicker. We've actually done two internal games now and the first game was very much getting used to these new laws and it was really, really fast and then you kind of have to think strategically.
“We played the second internal game with a better understanding. It is very strategic but again it's just what has to be done to make the game happen. Some of our front rows were absolutely fuming because they live for the scrums, that’s their biggest weapon but from our perspective we've got a really fit and mobile pack so to allow them to play a little bit more than scrummage for us is a good thing.”
Wasps are bidding for a top four finish this season to make the play-offs and Alder has said their opener will be a closely fought match.
She added: "Quins is always a tough fixture, in particular not last season the season before we came up against them in the semi-final and I think there were four or five points in it so we know it's doable. It is going to go down to the wire.
“Quins aren't a team that are going to roll over at 40, 50 minutes and with the new game being only 70 minutes we're going to have to work incredibly hard.
“But I’d be lying if I said I wasn't confident going into it because we've trained hard and with this being our opening fixture, what better fixture to come out all guns blazing.”
Wasps v Quins will kick off this Saturday at 2pm and it will be available to watch on the Premier 15s website.