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Russell Ready to Learn with AAs

College Women

Russell Ready to Learn with AAs

The Women’s All American team is full of a diverse group of players.

Two (Anne Peterson and Erin Overcash) boasting USA caps in 15s, and two more (Natalie Kosko and Amy Naber) who have received high-level 7s notice, while on the other and of the spectrum, several players from lower-profile programs such as Bailey Johnson (St. Cloud) and Melissa Olman (Molloy).

You get players such as Elena Cantorna, who have a lot of rugby experience, and players such as Rosie Russell, who don’t.

Russell is an interesting case, as she was recruited to Cal as a rower. She played basketball as well, but not rugby until some time after leaving the crew team, which she deemed not a good fit.

As is often the case, she was enticed out to rugby practice by a friend. Tall, with good ball skills thanks to basketball and plenty of power and endurance thanks to rowing, she was a welcome site on the Cal team.

“I missed having sports in my life, because that’s how I grew up,” Russell told Goff Rugby Report. “I met one of my [now] teammates in the book store because we were buying books for the same class. Eventually she got me to come to practice. I am really grateful to be on this team and with these great teammates - this sport has basically taken over my life.”

A lifter in the lineout, Russell may well transition to a jumper over time, as she has the height to do some damage in the lineout.

At the moment, all Russell wants to do it play well.

“It’s really exciting; I’m a little nervous,” she said. “I think my size and athleticism can have a big impact. I have a willingness to learn and want to pick up more about the game. This is my first tour. I am just excited for whatever it offers, but mostly I want to represent myself and Cal Women’s Rugby on the field the best way I can.”

Entering her fourth year at Cal, the Sociology major is now thinking international rugby, but adds she knows she has a lot to learn, something she has enjoyed doing with the Bears team.

“Brandon Sparks has had a huge impact on my rugby career,” said Russell of the Cal coach. “And I love the atmosphere of the team. We have so many supportive teammates at Cal - we encourage each other and work out with each other outside of practice. It’s a great community.”

One more convert to the game, is Rosie Russell. Now, with the All Americans, she has a chance to be a little bit more.