KD: Lowri, you played in Leg 1 of the 2019 Super Sevens Series at Bury St Edmunds, winning the tournament with Samurai Rugby. Was the standard of competition what you were expecting?
LN: Yes, I played in the first leg. We played against two very tough teams in Loughborough and Ramblin Jesters, both very good teams. They really pushed us and put us under great defensive pressure.
KD: What’s your views on how Women’s Sevens is doing in Wales and generally? Does it compliment the 15-aside game or distract from it?
LN: I think it’s definitely progressing. From a personal point of view, I have felt that the sevens game has really improved my skills and made me a better player on the 15s pitch, and I know many other girls feel this way. A lot of girls who are in the Welsh 15s squad are also part of the 7s squad and enjoy the intensity that 7s brings.
KD: Samurai Rugby is an invitational team, so you don’t get time to train together before a tournament...as a player how does this affect your mindset and approach?
LN: It doesn’t affect my mindset as the team have some set plays which they are sent prior to each tournament, and we run over certain patterns of play beforehand which makes me feel more comfortable. In terms of an approach I feel more comfortable with that as it gives you a chance to play freely since not every move or play is already pre-planned. So personally, I feel quite comfortable with this format and love being able to play with new players who I’ve not played with before.
KD: What are your goals for the 2019/20 15s season?
LN: My goals are for 15s to keep playing regional rugby (with the Ospreys ) and to carry on playing at sevens at the highest level I can, and to see how far I can reach.
KD: You played in S7S Leg 1 last weekend. For many players, part of the challenge of an all-day 7s tournament is managing themselves physically, mentally and emotionally across what is a long, tiring day. What tips can you give? Do you have any tactics or routines that help?
LN: It is extremely tiring and what’s difficult is warming yourself up multiple times throughout the day. However, my tips are to make sure you keep hydrated and eat small portions regularly to keep your energy levels up! Also, I ensure I do some prehab exercises in between games to keep my mobility up throughout the day. I always like to catch at least five high balls before any game…that’s my personal routine as it gives me confidence.
KD: How would you describe the Samurai team culture?
LN: I love the professionalism. I felt from the moment I joined the squad it was very organised, and things were done very efficiently and professionally, but not too seriously! That’s how I like to work, I love a proper routine and being in an intense environment! I felt the coaches and management were very professional and the girls I played with were very focused and we all wanted the same thing…to be successful and win.
KD: Where is the best location/place/venue you have played rugby, and why?
LN: I played in the principality stadium two weeks ago and we won the premiership final - that was unbelievable experience. And playing in the Barbados 7s Kensington Oval stadium because I was playing against some of the best teams and players in the world out there.
KD: Did you/do you play other sports? Why rugby?
LN: I have played netball and have played international netball for Wales. However, I started playing rugby when my sister Elli passed away in a tragic car accident. She played for Wales 15s and 7s and was the youngest player in the 2014 World Cup. I want to carry on her legacy in rugby and it makes me feel closer to her. My dream is to play for Wales at some point in order to make her proud and continue her legacy.
KD: What are your thoughts about progress towards professionalism in Women's rugby? And what's your day job?
LN: I think it would be amazing opportunity for women’s rugby to turn professional and for women to have the same opportunity as men. It’s extremely hard to hold down a full time job and train and maintain high training standards and ethics. I think women deserve the same opportunities as they work just as hard. I am a PE teacher
KD: Are Samurai Women going to win the S7S?
LN: If we play with the same intensity and skill levels as we did in Leg 1, I believe we can!