MA in Sports Journalism at St Mary's University

Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Shaunagh Brown: The life of the firefighting England Rugby International

Shaunagh Brown was announced in January as one of 28 women who would be given full-time, professional contracts by the RFU.

This announcement has acted as a ground-breaking moment within the history of English women’s rugby and has provided an even greater platform for the women’s game to be played on – following a remarkable grand slam triumph which was concluded in front of a record 13,278 attendance as England defeated Scotland 80-0.

The announcement will undoubtedly prove beneficial both on and off the field, and this effect has been instant, as the Red Roses’ impressive form during the Autumn International Series has continued into this year’s Six Nations.

England were nothing short of rampant throughout the Six Nations Championship, as they were crowned Grand Slam Champions at Twickenham following the men’s fixture on Saturday evening.

Shaunagh Brown: England Rugby International and Firefighter

The Red Roses scored an emphatic 278 points throughout their five game, with their lowest points tally being an eyebrow-raising 41 points in triumph against a very strong French squad.

While England have been setting the field alight with some trailblazing performances throughout this Championship, you are invited to delve deeper into the chaotic lifestyle of England and Harlequins star Shaunagh Brown.

When the RFU’s announcement was made, Shaunagh found herself presented with complications regarding her career and a difficult decision to make surrounding her life off of the rugby pitch.

Previously working as a full-time firefighter before it was announced that she had earned a professional rugby contract, Shaunagh loved her life outside of the sport along with all of the adrenaline and responsibility that came with it – and so after the immediate elation which came hand-in-hand with the opportunity to play rugby professionally for her country, the difficulty of weighing up what was best for her outside of the sport soon followed.

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Shaunagh unsurprisingly rose to this challenge like she has any other and has maintained her job within the fire service, in a part-time role, which works in unison alongside her international responsibilities.

Shaunagh is a true inspiration for other girls out there to pursue whatever they may wish to achieve, whether that be in or outside of sport – especially when you consider that she had never even played in a rugby 15s game until the age of 25.

This is her story.

Featured photograph/Michael Jordan