HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17

Jamaica, we have a women’s rugby sevens team! Lisa Frazer’s side are ready for their Hong Kong debut

Coach and captain,who also happens to have trained with the national bobsled team, is the island nations amateur welterweight boxing champion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 1:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 10:45pm

Lisa Frazer doesn’t seem to have the word “can’t” in her vocabulary. As the driving force behind the Jamaica women’s team as they make their debut at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Frazer fills dual roles as coach and standout player.

She says she lives and breathes the game and the challenge, and that she thrives on facing any test life might throw at her.

“I believe in training hard because it makes playing – and life – so much easier,” is how Frazer sums up her philosophy.

Frazer first found rugby during a trip to the beach in 2005, when she was 21. A friend had noticed something “funny” going on down on the sand.

“She said ‘Ah, there’s some people down by the beach playing some ball thing where you run and you hit people down. You should try it – you love that sort of stuff”,” explained Frazer.

“So I went down and asked if I could play. I got the ball and I just started running into people. But I learned quickly what the game is all about.”

Frazer first signed on for the Montego Bay Panthers – the men’s team, mind.

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“They threw me in as a hooker and it all started from that,” she said. “I was 21. It was fun and exciting. Sometimes tough, but I love sports and once I started playing rugby there was no turning back.

Whenever I’m not working, it’s rugby.”

In reality, it’s a fair few other things as well. In February, Frazer became Jamaica’s amateur welterweight boxing champion, with a unanimous points decision over the more highly fancied Felicia Groves.

She’s also trained with the national bobsled team, and dabbles in a little football, cycling, tennis, hockey, karate and “every little thing.”

Life in the Jamaican army, where she works as a physical trainer, helps keep her active – all the time, by the sounds of it.

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“I’m 34 now – but only on paper,” said Frazer, a Lance Corporal. “I still feel 21. You know I’d always wanted to box. I learned through a training course at work.

“I had my first fight last November against someone who had been travelling around and who had fought quite a bit. I won, and it felt so good. There is just a feeling you get from it, and when you win it is just something else.

“And boxing works well with rugby. So I train twice during the day for boxing now and then once at night for rugby. When I train for boxing and then go to rugby, the other girls have to just try to keep up with me.”

Frazer believes her background in the rural reaches of Jamaica helped set her on a course for a life in sport.

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Frazer heads a squad made of Jamaicans living at home and in Canada as the island nation makes their first appearance in Hong Kong, drawn with Japan, China and the Netherlands in pool A as the women’s event kicks off on Thursday at So Kon Po.

“We had to walk a long way to get to the farm and then spend the whole day in the fields or feeding the animals,” she said. “So my whole life growing up was work, work, work. It’s the same today except my work is sport.”

For the first time the event serves also as a qualifier for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens.

“It’s a wonderful privilege to be here,” said Fraser. “It’s been a long journey. Every woman on the team is happy to be here.

“It’s been a combination of hard work and skill to get the team together. We’ve come here to prove to the world that we deserve to be here.”