Women’s rugby history could be lost forever without better record-keeping, worries World Cup winner Tamara Taylor, writes Milly McEvoy.
The 40-year-old, now in her 17th year playing high-level club rugby, admitted she has no knowledge of the appearance milestones she could be passing along the way.
But Taylor’s primary concern isn’t personal recognition—it’s the inadvertent erasure of those who came before.
“I've always been quite annoyed about the fact that in the women's club game we've never kept very good records,” the England and Saracens lock said.
“There's lots of people and lots of different sources who are actually driving that now to get that information to the public domain, that’s really cool.
“I think my only worry when I look at it is, I don't want people to be forgotten.
“The girls that that were playing for England when I first started, because there's no decent records, it's almost like they were never there.
“And I just think it's really important that we keep a hinge on what our history is, and those stories need to be told because the media weren't telling them at the time.”
Taylor first played rugby at Henley Rugby Club aged 15 before spending 14 years at top-flight side Thirsk, now based in Darlington as DMP Durham Sharks.
After leaving the Sharks following demotion from her role as player-head coach, she recently returned to the North East on loan with the club struggling at the bottom of the Allianz Premier 15s — DMP have lost nine of their ten games this season by at least 59 points.
Taylor was back in the black of her parent club Saracens on 9 January as the Sharks succumbed to a 104-0 loss.
The result shone a light on the troubles DMP are facing on and off the pitch, with the club releasing a statement earlier this month imploring: “If you are one of the people that don’t believe in us and throw around negativity towards us like it’s nothing then please stop!
— Allianz Premier 15s (@Premier15s) January 9, 2022
“For our mental health because that really matters.
“Please stop the online abuse.”
The RFU have since created a North East rugby working group, answering Taylor’s calls for greater support for the region.
She said: “Honestly, I never thought I would play for DMP again. I just never imagined a time that that I would put that shirt on again.
“It's always for me about the players, the most important part of rugby is the girls that I play alongside and they asked for help and I didn't really hesitate.
— Tamara Taylor (@Timmytammy8) December 3, 2021
“My biggest priority has always been there being a performance level team in the North East. I think it's really important that girls in the area have got somewhere to play, somewhere to aspire to play and not have to relocate and constantly leave the area and go south.
“That's my big worry is that there wouldn't be a team up here.
“All I can see is the same as everybody else that the results haven't been great, but I think you have to look at what support has been put around those girls.
“It's very easy to say all the players aren't playing very well. But there's some very good players in that playing group and there's some young girls with a lot of potential. I'm not sure what's going on, but I think it'd be interesting to find that out.”