She’s accustomed to rucking in a scrum but Roz Crowley will soon be swapping the mud of the rugby field to tackle the challenge of the classroom.
The England Women’s rugby prop has just graduated from the University of Wolverhampton having completed a year-long Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the Walsall Campus. Roz, 24, of Lichfield actually rejected the thought of becoming a teacher initially but after doing a maths degree and having various admin related jobs she decided to think again.
She said: “Both of my sisters teach and I didn’t want to follow what they had done. I wanted to do my own thing.
“I had a few jobs but soon realised they weren’t for me. I’d been involved in coaching for a while and I really loved that so I thought why not merge my two passions – maths and coaching. “It’s the best decision I’ve made, as every day is different.
“I teach in an enthusiastic way and put maths across in a fashion pupils can understand. It’s very easy in a subject area like maths for kids to feel demotivated because they don’t understand how to do something or what you are telling them.”
Roz has just finished and passed her PGCE in Secondary Education and has already secured a job, starting in September, at Kingsbury School, near Tamworth.
“I’m raring to go. I really just want to get into the classroom now and get stuck in. I can’t wait to be able to say that I am a real teacher.
“My time at the University and at Walsall has been great. The support you get is brilliant. It’s a difficult year but everybody really looks after one another. Naturally you spend a lot of your time out on placements.
“They were intense but very enjoyable.”
Going into a secondary school classroom for many would be a daunting prospect. But having played in the World Cup in 2010 Roz feels she can draw upon her on-field experiences.
“Rugby helps gives you a sense of commitment, motivation and cohesive working – all skills that I can take into the classroom.
“I am also used to coming up against challenging opponents and playing as a prop you get used to difficult situations.
“I’m used to a bit of banter. My team mates often take the mickey about me being a maths teacher. There are a few teachers within my rugby team but I always tend to get the questions about angles and probability.”
It seems that some things run in the Crowley household. As well as having teachers in the family, elder sister Katie is also a team mate of Roz’s at Lichfield RUFC. And it is Katie she has to thank for her burgeoning rugby career.
“I was always very sporty as a youngster and loved netball and football and Katie went to a rugby session at school and enjoyed it so I thought I’d give it a go as well. I loved it.
“It kind of snowballed from there. I got into various training camps at local level, then county and regional and made my national debut playing for England under-19s at the age of 16 against Wales.
“Women’s rugby is currently one of fastest growing sports in the country. A sixth of all rugby players are girls or women.
“It’s growing in schools through initiatives like tag rugby, which involves minimal contact and most local rugby clubs have girls and women’s teams.”
Roz has gone on to appear for the England A team and gained 15 full international caps, sharing in the European Championship win of 2007, England’s European Cup triumph the following year and in the Six Nations triumph in 2009.
The highlight of her rugby career so far was being part of the World Cup squad in 2010 when England reached the final by beating Australia, only to be beaten by their cousins from the southern hemisphere, New Zealand, 10-3.
Most recently in May she was part of the European Championship winning side that triumphed over Spain, Italy and France to regain the title – right in the last throws of her course. So what does the future hold?
“It’ll be hard work to balance rugby and teaching but I’m used to it and shown I can do it so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“Having been in and out of the England squad my aim is to establish myself as a regular in time for World Cup in 2014 in France and the aim is to go over there and win the tournament.
“On the other side of things I want to establish myself as a teacher. I will be doing some rugby coaching as well at my new school.
“There are many similarities between rugby and teaching. You get people from all walks of life and if you’re passionate and work at it you can excel.”