Rugby Union

Army's Sarah Mitchelson Passes Significant Milestone For Wasps

Former Army Rugby Union player Staff Sergeant Sarah Mitchelson has played her 200th match for Wasps.

The special occasion came against Exeter Chiefs last weekend and the experienced player, who serves with 150 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps in Doncaster, has looked back on some of her fondest memories with the team.

Unsurprisingly, the team's rivalry with Saracens proved to be a highlight.

She said: "There’s so many. There’s so many with mixed emotions.

"I think the first season we played, Saracens had already won the title but in our last game, we beat them on their home ground.

"That was a special day. It didn’t mean anything but I think it meant something to the players.

"Three seasons ago, beating Saracens here was probably a big highlight – not because it was a pretty game but because of the fight and the passion that the girls showed on the pitch.”

SSgt Mitchelson, who is nicknamed 'Huddy' by her peers at Wasps and the Army, retired from the service team three years ago but continued to help the side in a coaching capacity.

She explained: "I decided that I was going to stop playing for the Army so I could focus on my coaching career which is really important to me and which I love very much.

"Three or four seasons ago, I hung up my boots for the Army and said I wouldn’t play for them again.

"There may have been a couple of games that have crept in but I’ve really concentrated on being the assistant and defence coach now with the Army team.

"I’ve managed to get my level three out of that and I’ve really enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would."

Sarah Mitchelson Coaching Wasps Credit BFBS 02122020.jpg
SSgt Sarah Mitchelson has plenty of memories from her time with the Army side and Wasps.

Despite calling time on her playing career in the Army, she said still misses playing for the service.

"I think because I’ve got Wasps to keep playing, keeping me ticking over with rugby, I feel like I’m not really missing rugby because I still get to play week in and week out," she said.

"As much as I do miss very much so putting on a red jersey especially when I see them play at Inter Services, I’d do anything to get back on that pitch again."

After a 12-year playing career, SSgt Mitchelson has been asked about retirement but said she's not quite done yet.

"A very good coach and a very good friend of mine once said to me ‘don’t stop playing until you can’t'," she said.

"I’m pushing myself probably to the end of my career. To be honest, I don’t see myself going any further than this season, but that’s mainly because I now can’t commit to so much training as what these girls do."

Giselle Mather, Director of Rugby at Wasps Ladies, was full of praise for the "fantastic" military player.

She said: "I’ve never seen ‘Huddy’ step off the pedal once.

"She changed position from centre to back row about three years ago and that season was tough for her.

"It was different and now she absolutely excels in that position."