Smith’s singing from a different hymn sheet

Croydon Guardian: In action: Rochelle Smith, right, in Saracens colours In action: Rochelle Smith, right, in Saracens colours

Playing the violin and singing opera are not past-times often associated with rugby, but Epsom’s Rochelle Smith is bridging the divide.

The 19-year-old’s credentials with egg make for fine reading having captained the London Irish and Surrey sides, and being selected for the England U20 squad.

Moreover, as part of the Saracens Ladies, Smith is sitting pretty on top of the Women’s Premiership table.

Her talents have not gone unnoticed, and she is off to South Africa during the winter break to coach rugby at schools at the invitation of Lincoln Johnson, the chief executive of Hawston RFC in Cape Town.

And England has come calling too, as Smith has been invited to join the elite rugby 7s coaching team at West Indies University, Jamaica, where she studies medicine.

Smith said: “I love playing my sport, but I also love being an inspiration to the younger generation.

“They look up to you as I looked up to my sporting great. Jason Robinson is my sporting hero and if I can inspire any young player as he inspired me, it would be great.

“Going out to South Africa is such an exciting opportunity for me, I cannot wait to get out there and starting teaching the children.”

She added: “I would like to win the Women’s World Cup because I'd like to have the sense of achievement and the title of World Cup winner.

“As well as going through the hard work, training and camaraderie that is needed to get there.”

But there is an alternative side to Smith as, away from the pitch, you are most likely to find her nose in a book or indulging in other equally cultural activities.

“I love to read, it is my favourite past-time and I will read up to six books a month in a range of genres,” she said.

“But I also love to sing, and I have done some opera and musicals. I also love to play the violin.”

Smith who got into the sport after watching her brother play as a youngster, looks up to Robinson because of his dual personality – saying he is one man on the pitch, but another off it.

She said: “I love how he can try really hard on the pitch to play the best game he can play and does amazingly well.

“But when he comes off the pitch he isn’t arrogant, he has such humility and that is how I model myself as a player.”

She added: “I will always remember this quote from him: ‘My game does not revolve around being a try scorer’ because it is one thing being a great try scorer but a completely different thing to be a great all round player, which I he has achieved.”

Croydon Guardian:

Rochelle Smith

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