OA Saints captain Kate Barnes has retired from rugby, but says the club ‘can’t get rid of me’.
The 36-year-old has played for the team for 13 years however a change in personal circumstances has led to her decision.
Speaking to the Herts Ad, Barnes said: “I have hung up my boots, I feel it’s time. I’ve decided to retire because a few things have changed in my life where I can’t always commit to training and matches now.”
“My job is quite demanding and I travel all over the UK. I’ve also been doing crossfit for three years and balancing that with rugby is hard. Crossfit is a huge investment for me and I have been competing so I want to focus on that and see how far I can go in the crossfit masters.”
Dedication is the key to success for Barnes.
“My view is when taking up a sport, especially team ones, you should be committed as much as possible,” she said. “I’ve been playing for 20 years and I don’t have the passion for playing as I did and when that goes your focuses change.”
Such is the nature of rugby, Barnes will not be walking away from the club.
“The Saints can’t get rid of me that easily as I am staying on as club captain for my third season and I’m always on hand volunteering at OA Rugby in general. We had a new head coach join us in August last year Darran Brown. I want to keep working with him to grow the team and get as much depth in the squad as possible to hopefully one day have two ladies teams running at OAs. He’s a massive asset to the girls and we want to achieve the same goals.”
“I think I’ve been with the Saints 12-13 years and honestly it’s like having a second family. Rugby is a way of life, it consumes you. What I like about rugby the most is it doesn’t matter who you are, what your job or background is, anyone can give it go and the Saints welcome all regardless.”
“While winning the play-off in Championship One to get into the Premiership ranks highly as a highlight for Barnes, heading out on tour provided moments she will never forget. Touring with the Saints for 11 years is something not to be done for the faint hearted,” she added. “One of my fondest memories, and constant laughter, has been on tour with the Saints at Amsterdam and Kinsale 7s. Although playing the New Zealand national 7s team at 9.30am after a heavy night in Amsterdam wasn’t particularly easy.”
Darren Brown, OA Saints Head Coach, presents Kate with a memento of her enormous contribution to the Old Albanians Rugby Club.