England international Tuima returns to Devonport Services to coach girls

DEVOPORT Services’ girls and women’s teams had a treat this week when former player Lagi Tuima turned up to coach them.

The Harlequins and England international spent time with all the club’s female sides from under-12s through to seniors.

Tuima took up rugby with Services as a teenager and progressed through their ranks before going on to star in the Premier 15s with first Bristol and then Harlequins.

She admitted it was great to return to her home-town club and hopefully help inspire a new generation of players.

“The reception I got was great,” said the 24-year-old centre, who has just signed a new contract with Harlequins.

“Obviously, there are not too many familiar faces, but I think that is just a testament to how far the club has come in terms of players and the depth of coaches they are bringing out.”

She admitted when she started playing at Services that she never expected to go on and have the success she has done.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “I think that’s what makes it a little bit emotional coming back down here where it all started for me.

“It was all just a bit light-hearted and a bit of fun with your best friends, but blink and you are playing at Twickenham for your country. And that could be all the girls here.

“Without this place I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.”

Her presence at Keyham this week certainly inspired the whole female section at the city club, according to senior player Zoe Pluckrose.

“I think it is really inspiring for the girls to see where you can get to with your rugby,” said Pluckrose.

“She started at Devonport Services and can share her experiences and what she has learned along the way with us.”

Services’ women’s club captain Gemma Flowers added: “Lagi has been exactly where we are all now. She has trained her and worn the kit and our players can see that with a bit of hard work that many could hopefully get there too.”

Royal Navy player Flowers, who got involved in rugby through the RFU’s Inner Warrior campaign, said she would encourage anyone to come down to the club and try the sport.

“With our ladies’ team there is such a range of people from all different ages and all different backgrounds and this is a really good up-and-coming team regardless of your standard or whether you have even played before or not,” she added.

Leave a Reply