Firstaid4sport is proud to announce that we will be supporting Women’s Welsh Rugby International Rebecca de Filippo over the next year.
When Rebecca made her debut against Scotland in the 2012, she was the youngest member of the Wales squad. As a centre, she moved her way up the senior ranks having already played for Wales at Under 20 Level.
Rebecca played for Wales during the World Cup in 2014 before taking a short break. She returned to the team for the 2016/2017 Six Nations.
Rebecca took some time out to have chat with us about her career and aspirations for the future.
FA4S: At what age did you start playing Rugby?
RD: I began to play rugby at 10 years old for a local team in Llanelli, New Dock Stars. I then went on to play for Llanelli School Boys U11, Dyfed U11 and Carmarthenshire U12, which were all progressions from club rugby.
FA4S: What is it about the sport you love so much?
RD: I have always been passionate about rugby, mainly due to my brother and father playing for Wales age grade rugby. I love putting on the Welsh jersey, singing the anthem and making my family and friends proud of what I have achieved and who I have become. To be able to go two World Cups and World Series and to compete against the best teams in the world are the reasons why I love rugby so much; it has opened many doors and has given me a wealth of opportunities and experiences.
FA4S: You play both 7’s and XV. Does your training vary for each?
RD: Not necessarily, it completely depends on which part of the season we are in. To play 7s and 15s, you must still understand the basics of rugby, such as the catch, pass and tackle. However, when I am in 7s training we are working more of our anaerobic threshold which is reflected in high intensity training for shorter durations of time, to mirror competition days.
FA4S: Where is the best place Rugby has a taken you?
RD: So far it must be the Paris World Cup in 2014 and then the Dublin World Cup in 2017. The opportunity to compete on such a big stage, with packed out crowds and the chance to be crowned the best team in the World is a fantastic privilege. Being an amateur athlete, but being in a professional environment for 3 weeks, training like a professional, eating like a professional and being in a team environment brought us closer as a team, and created friendships and memories I will have for the rest of my life.
FA4S: What has been you proudest sporting achievement so far?
RD: Receiving my first International starting Welsh Cap on my 18th birthday, in Twickenham Stadium playing against England, which were the best team in the world at the time. For me that was my moment to make a big impact on the 6 nations in 2012. The endless mornings of running up and down the cycle path with my dad on his bike and doing 100 passes off my right hand and 100 passes of my left hand daily out the back, all led to this one moment.
FA4S: What are you best and worst habits when it comes to Rugby?
RD: Both my best and worse habit is probably how relaxed I am in the changing room before the game. Most of the time, I am the one in the corner of the changing room sleeping, with my head phones on, or throwing a ball to myself. A lot of the girls have a routine, where they must put their socks on in a special order and take a picture of their jersey every game. Whereas if I have my gum shield, I am ready to go!
FA4S: Who is your sporting hero?
RD: As cliché as it sounds it has to be my dad, as he has been the one who has been there every step of the way with me, through my injuries, and all my successes. But if I had to choose a sporting hero, it would have to be Jonah Lomu. He was an incredible athlete; he had speed, physicality, great awareness of the game and space and he also had a fantastic offload game. I think the main reason as to why he is my sporting hero, is because when he got diagnosed with a kidney disease, he continued to fight, and a few years later he signed for Cardiff Blues. Even though he may not have been back to his best, he still left a legacy and showed that challenges will happen in your career, but it is how you respond to the challenge that will make you that world class player, not the successes you have. This is something my dad has always told me, and something I try to pass down to the younger players in the Welsh nation team, when they might be going through injury or when they’re not being chosen to play.
FA4S: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
RD: I would love to be a professional athlete in the World 7s Series, but if rugby does not go professional, then realistically I am considering joining the RAF and using my degree in Sports and Exercise Science, and my masters in Strength and Conditioning.
FA4S: Where would you like to see Women’s Rugby in 5 years?
RD: I would love Women’s Rugby to go professional, for younger girls to have the same opportunities as their male counter parts, but I think the only way this would happen is if the media was to drive Women’s rugby. Recent years have shown that rugby is one of the biggest growing sports in the UK, which reflects changes in attitudes in the modern society which can only be down to new roles in women’s sport, and a reflection on the recent media support which is given to the Women’s games.
FA4S: Do you have tips for young girls trying to decide if Rugby is for them?
RD: Try it and see what happens. If you truly want something, then believe in yourself and put everything into it. You will be faced with challenges, but it is how you overcome them and learn from them that will make you a little bit better than yesterday.