From playing touch rugby for Teachers to experiencing the top flight of the women’s game in England, Corrie Cross has come a long way in a short time.
The 19-year-old made one appearance for the Worcester Valkyries in the Tyrrells Premier 15s last season, coming on as a late substitute away to Wasps Ladies. It marked a rapid rise for the Bermudian, who took up the sport only five years ago.
“It was my first time travelling with a top team and I’d never been part of anything so elite,” said Cross, who played six matches for the Valkyries seconds XV last term.
“It was all happening so fast — it was exciting, though. I’m excited to see how I progress with the team this season.
“My goal is to eventually become a regular feature on their first team.”
Cross has quickly transited to the 15s game having previously played only sevens, captaining the Bermuda Under-19 side at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Nassau, Bahamas, last summer. She caught the eye of Valkyries coach Josh Payne while playing for Coventry University against his Warwick University team towards the end of last season.
Valkyries are affiliated with Worcester Warriors of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby and among ten teams playing in the women’s top league.
“I was playing for my university and the Worcester coach was coaching the other team,” Cross said.
“He said he liked the way I was playing and invited me to training. I’d only been to two sessions when I found myself playing for the first team because someone had dropped out.”
The flanker attributes her versatility — which she considers one of her major assets — to her background in sevens.
“I prefer to be a flanker but sometimes I get pushed out to No 8,” said Cross, who is studying architecture.
“I’m quite strong so I tend to stay in the scrum, but I’m used to playing sevens, so I like to move around, and sometimes push out to No 12 and 13 [inside centre and outside centre]. If I see a gap I like to scramble with the ball.”
Cross, who will train twice a week with Valkyries when she returns to the West Midlands, will represent Bermuda at the Rugby Americas North Sevens Championship in Barbados next month.
“We’ve been to the tournament a few times,” said the former Warwick Academy pupil. “We have a pretty decent chance to make a good impact.
“The progression of the team has been delayed a bit because we’re trying to figure out the right way to transition from having the older players moving on and inviting newer girls to tryout. We’re trying to grow the whole culture of women’s rugby.”