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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Women in Sport: Rugby Sevens player Erin King


By Sarah Gill
11th Apr 2023
Women in Sport: Rugby Sevens player Erin King

In this instalment of our Women in Sport series, we hear from Erin King on her biggest sporting goals, her daily routine, and the importance of being able to bounce back.

Erin King is a promising young rugby player who is currently representing Ireland on the World Rugby Sevens Series. Erin has been a fan of rugby since she was a month old, when she attended the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney. Erin began playing the sport when she was four years old.

Erin made her breakthrough at the age of 17, when she started training with the Ireland Sevens Squad and was identified as an IRFU Player of Interest. Since then, she has enjoyed great success with the Sevens Team as she helped Ireland to a bronze medal in Canada and a silver medal in Seville during the 2021/2022 World Rugby Sevens Series before being selected for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa. Erin has also played underage rugby for Leinster and Ireland in the XVs format of the sport, winning the 2022 Under 18 Interprovincial Series with Leinster.

Having been born in Sydney, Erin has also lived in Dubai and Doha in the middle east and attended primary school in Doha. Erin has also played Gaelic football and represented Wicklow at minor level.

Erin King

Name: Erin King

Profession: Rugby 7s player

Earliest sporting memory?

Playing rugby minis tournaments around the Middle East with Doha RFC.

How did you become involved in your sport?

My dad always played rugby and so when my brothers started playing, my parents thought it was a good idea to bring me along too!

What message would you like to share with young women and girls interested in pursuing a career as an athlete?

Being an athlete is a journey and it’s not always going to be smooth but when it does get tough you just have to remember it’s all worth it, the unreal feeling you get from playing your sport can’t be replicated doing anything else. So just over all never give up, I promise it’s the best thing getting to play sport for a living, the highs outweigh the lows by far.

Proudest moment so far?

Getting to a final on the World 7s Series for the first time ever in Seville last year.

The female athlete I admire most is…

Lucy Mulhall because she’s not only our captain but one of the kindest and most talented people I’ve ever met, I’m so lucky to get to train with her every day and learn so much, not only on the pitch but off the pitch from her. She’s an inspiration and if you don’t know who she is you definitely should!

Favourite sporting memory?

Getting my first 7s cap in Dubai with my whole family and lots of my friends watching.

Do you think there is still a stigma around women in sport?

I personally think there is still a stigma around women in sport, especially rugby. It’s definitely improved but we still get the comments “girls shouldn’t be playing rugby” and people that say it’s a men’s game but more people are becoming open to it.

What is the biggest barrier to driving visibility in women’s sports?

People just showing up, the bigger the crowd and the more talk and fuss about women’s sport, the more people will hear about it and become exposed. For example, a lot of people don’t even know that our team are full time athletes that train day in day out. Just making people aware that we do also play sports for living and that our matches are as good as the men’s.

The biggest stigma/pre-conception that exists in women’s sport is…

That we’re not as good as the men.

Erin King

If I wasn’t an athlete I would be…

Definitely would be something that involved sports or exercise, maybe a PT.

My favourite pre-competition game meal is…

Scrambled eggs and brown toast with apple juice.

My pre-competition game playlist includes …

In Da Club – 50 cent and 450 – Bad Boy Chiller Crew.

My daily routine is…

Get up and head to the High Performance Centre where we train, normally have breakfast there, sometimes have a meeting and then a pitch session then we get a bit of a break where we grab a snack and then to the gym, we get lunch and head home. Once I get home I chill and hang out with my housemates and get dinner sorted, I’ve started a strength and conditioning course so then I’ll study for about an hour and by then it’s probably time for bed.

My biggest sporting goal is…

To medal at an Olympics with 7s and go to a 15s Women’s World Cup.

Sports brands I love are…

Lululemon, Nike, Adidas, gym and coffee.

Biggest splurge to celebrate a win?

When we do well I like to treat myself to nice food at nice restaurants that I wouldn’t normally go to and getting loads and whatever I want or I like to book trips away and splurge on a holiday!

How do you mind your mental health?

To keep me in check I like going for walks and sea swims, in training or if we’re on tour I like to talk to my teammates if I’m ever upset or if anything is getting to me, we try to be as open and honest with each other so we can help each other in the best possible way.

My three desert island beauty products are…

Dove tinted moisturiser, clear lip gloss (soap and glory plumping one is my favourite), and Benefit BadGal BANG mascara.

I need 8 hours of sleep a night because… sleep is your best friend when you’re an athlete and you can never have too much, it’s the best form of recovery.

Confidence, to me, is…

Feeling good and happy. When I’m on the pitch I’m confident because I know my teammates have my back and we have clear communication and I know that no matter what I do my team love me, it takes away the fear that I’ll let them down and makes me play with more confidence.

How do you get over a bad performance?

Sevens is a tournament based sport so we typically play 6 matches over a weekend, so we need to have that bounce back ability. It can be tough but we tend to give ourselves a short window to be disappointed as we’re athletes and the reason we are where we are is because we’re hard on ourselves but then your focus has to turn to the next job(match) and take the learnings because no matter if you play good or bad you’re always going to learn and normally you learn more from a bad performance. So taking that bad performance and getting the most out of it in a positive way.

Lastly, why is sport such an integral part of community, on a club, local, national and personal level?

Personally, sport has always been the constant in my life, I grew up moving and living in lots of different places and with sport you make friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Sport gives you the ability to feel part of a community. You get to feel a part of something so special. It gives you the opportunity to make your club or country so proud and bring that club or country together. Sport gives people a reason to be happy and feel joy!

For any enquiries about Erin, visit Navy Blue.