The No 9 talks through her journey in rugby

Saracens scrum-half Ella Wyrwas

Date of birth 7 March 1999 Born London Position Scrum-half Club Saracens Country England

When did you first play?

I was six, at Saracens minis. My brother started and I got my mum to take me along. It got more difficult when I couldn’t play with the boys; I chopped and changed between clubs depending on who had a girls’ side.

What other sports did you play? 

Lots. When I got to Year 11, my mum said I should probably choose what to focus on. Up until then I did every sport under the sun! I played water polo to quite a high level but I decided on rugby.

What positions have you played? 

I was a centre until towards the end of my first year with Saracens seniors in 2018. I got picked for England U20; I wasn’t big enough to go further as a centre but it was suggested I could as a scrum-half. I had a long stint out injured, so I’ve only played a season and a bit at scrum-half.

Who was your childhood hero? 

Usain Bolt. He brought charisma as well as dedication and achievement.

You went to Hartpury College…

Yes, for A Levels. I knew I wanted to give rugby a shot, to properly train, and Hartpury was a good option. I could do my A Levels but also focus on rugby; there’s a good connection between rugby and the academic stuff.

When did you join Loughborough? 

When I went to uni, in September 2018. I picked my uni based on where a good club would be for me – I’ve just finished studying biology at Nottingham.

And now you’re back at Saracens… 

Yes, I’ve moved to Saracens because I’m back in North London. I’ve just got a job working with the charitable arm, the Saracens Foundation. They have projects for disability sport and I’ll be overseeing those; it’s something I’m passionate about. And it’s perfect that it’s at the training ground and they’re really understanding about time off for rugby.

What are your goals? 

While I was at uni, as much as I focused on rugby, there were times it was hard to commit everything to rugby. So this is my season to properly focus on rugby and hopefully break into the England team.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career? 

Definitely my mum, Karen. We weren’t a rugby family but she’s now the biggest fan. She’s so supportive.

RW Verdict: As Eloise Hayward and Emma Swords left Saracens over the summer, former England U18 and U20 player Wyrwas is in line for plenty of game time at scrum-half and is looking to push for senior international honours as well.

This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s October 2021 edition.

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