- - Ella Wyrwas, 2nd year Biology student, photographed outside the Vaughan Parry Williams Pavilion
Thousands of students have pulled on the iconic Green and Gold jerseys over the decades, many directly as a result of a scholarship.The University of Nottingham Sport scholarship provision aims to give an unrivalled level of support to the brightest and best talents in the sporting world.
Ella Wyrwas is a second year Biology student who was awarded a scholarship by the University in recognition of her potential on the pitch. Playing rugby since the age of six, she has represented England at under-20 level.
"I've literally played rugby for what feels like all of my life. My older brother was very sporty and played lots of sports, he was the main influence on me picking up a rugby ball. I played with the boys until I was about 13 I think! From there I followed the pathway into the England programme.
"I chose to study at Nottingham because of the facilities, the range of scholarship offers and the proximity to the Premiership side Loughborough Lightning. Paul Westgate, the Head of Rugby has contacts there and so my development is both through the University and the club which is really important.
“It was quite daunting really, when I first came I wasn't aware of the strong history the University has in rugby, with Brian Moore and Chris Wyles, both alumni who are heroes I have looked up to since I was such a young age. Brian came in the other day and I got to talk to him - it's quite surreal really. It just shows how the support the University provides has a purpose and creates elite athletes.
“The most valuable aspect of the scholarship for me is the additional support and structures which I'm provided with. I tore the two ligaments in my knee in March 2019 - which is literally any rugby player's worst nightmare. It resulted in two surgeries within about four months and the minimum time then on the sidelines is 12 months.
“The injury occurred at a crucial time in my development as a player because I was on the brink of breaking into the senior national side.
"So the rehabilitation I am undergoing will make or break my future when I recover. The scholarship is invaluable because of the support it enables - I have been following a tailored programme with a dedicated strength and conditioning coach who really goes above and beyond.
"To have a member of staff who is so invested in my welfare is so important.
“I also have further support from a lifestyle adviser who is able to bring together my studies, my sport and my home life. She really analyses every aspect of my life! I can’t rely just on rugby for a career so this helps ensure that studies don’t jeopardise sport and vice versa. It’s really supportive to have that person on your side who can give you direction and help you talk to the right people.
“Without this I would really be struggling to fulfil my potential and have any chance of being an elite women's rugby player. The sport is so on the up so the support at this time is crucial.”