THE first Inverclyde girls rugby under-15s squad are blazing a trail for those keen to give the game a try.

Pupils from St Columba’s and Clydeview Academy make up the team and are being encouraged at coaching sessions run by Greenock Wanderers Ladies.

The Tele visited a lunchtime session at St Columba’s and discovered that rugby is becoming one of the most popular sports at the school.

Lindsay McGurk, principal teacher of PE, said: “Girls rugby has been running at the school since I arrived two years ago.

“It’s become very popular and is the second most popular girls after-school activity after netball.” Lindsay says the image of the sport is changing and it is no longer viewed as a man’s game.

She said: “There’s a stigma attached to rugby that it’s only for boys and it’s a macho game, but girls can just be as aggressive and forceful as boys.” The squad, which trains at Clydeview Academy on Fridays after school, has taken part in three tournaments this year and it’s hoped that they will soon be joined by teams at U15 and U18 levels.

Lauren Gunn, a member of the 30-strong Wanderers’ ladies team, said: “Women’s rugby is definitely up and running.

“I just joined because I wanted to be part of a team and it’s so much fun.

“None of us really knew each other before we started and now we’re like a big family.” The Wanderers ladies team are also aiming high by entering the Scottish League next year.

Brendan McGroarty, above, rugby development development officer for Inverclyde, said: “We’re trying to change the image of the game.

“It’s about agility, speed and fitness and being able to move.

“It’s a more active sport than it used to be.”