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Inger walks out to represent the Netherlands

Jongerius looks to put her Spanish experience to good use

Finding rugby was a "Life changing experience" says Netherlands star

Given that Spain are ranked 10th in the world and the Netherlands are 17th, the home side will start as overwhelming favourites going into the final Rugby Europe Championship 2020 match this weekend.

However, visiting second-row/back-row Inger Jongerius now plays her club rugby in Spain for Eibar and is hoping her inside knowledge of the rugby culture there can help her country as they aim pull off a massive result.

Ahead of the match on Saturday (4pm local time) in the Estadio Pedro Escartín, Guadalajara, the 25-year-old explains:  I currently play for Eibar and I’m really enjoying playing for the team, the girls there work hard and have a lot of potential, I think there is a good balance in experienced and young talented players.

“There are five girls selected for the Spanish squad from Eibar, so I’m looking forward to play against them this weekend.

“The main focus for us as a Netherlands squad is not the score, but the improvement of the team. We want to make progress on the things the girls have trained hard on and we want to playing as a team and dominate in the areas of the game that we do well.”

So, how did Jongerius - who is known for her strong ball carries and who likes to offload and keep the ball alive when she can - get into rugby?

“I spent my younger years in a smaller town called Muiden and whilst living there I learnt to play soccer which I really enjoyed,” she said.

“Then I moved to Purmerend and a friend and I decided to give rugby a try - it was an absolutely life changing experience.

“Rugby brings out a lot more in me as I enjoy the physical parts of the game and I am much better with a ball in hand than I am kicking it with my foot.

“I found I had a talent for rugby and there is always something new to learn about the sport technically as well as tactically.

“Rugby brings people together and creates a thriving environment, I’ve always taken the games seriously, but since the national team was promoted to the highest [Rugby Europe] division five years ago I’ve been more serious with training and I am very committed, it has become a lifestyle for me.

“In terms of club rugby, from the age of 13 I played for Rugby Club Waterland in the Netherlands, but this season I wanted to develop myself further in my rugby and decided to go play abroad for the first time and that led me to Spain.”

One moment stands out in Jongerius’ international career to date: her Netherlands debut.

“Three years ago I made my debut with the Netherlands national team against Sweden and I was honoured to represent my country,” she recounts.

“The crowd gave us such great energy and after scoring two tries in that game the feeling rushing through me couldn’t get any better.

“Currently the squad has a lot of young players in it and everyone works hard as a group and as individuals to get better every day.”

The Netherlands have not played a match in this event since losing 27-21 to Russia in March last year in Amsterdam.

Watch Spain v Netherlands live on Rugby Europe TV from 4pm CET

View the starting XV HERE 


By Gary Heatly 

Photo by Dennis van de Sande

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