Newport girl rugby player kicks bullies into touch
A YOUNG rugby player who was teased for playing the sport when she was younger is kicking the bullies into touch by launching her own team.
Heather Burns, 15, says she was teased and taunted by other youngsters who told her she shouldn't be playing rugby because it was a "boys' sport".
Now she is determined to prove girls have their place on the pitch and has started the first girls rugby team at St Julian's School, Newport.
The teenager helps coach youngsters from Years 7 and 8, with the supervision of a teacher, after school every Monday.
She hopes to gather enough players for a team to play other schools.
She said: "I don't want people to think rugby is just for boys, I want girls to be themselves. I used to get bullied all through Year 7 until people started to stick up for me.
Rugby is my thing and I want to do better in my life for it." The Newport High School Old Boys scrum half started playing when she was eight years old after being inspired by her brother Lloyd's love of the sport.
Since then she has played for Newport Gwent Dragons youth team and aspires to one day fulfil her dream of playing for Wales.
During her playing career she has sustained a number of injuries, most recently a split ear, which she had to have stitched up at hospital.
Assistant head teacher Lewis Thomas praised her achievement, she said: "Heather has shown amazing tenacity to chase up her dream to have a girls rugby team at the school. She is also very courageous and wears her rugby battle scars with pride."