Losing 54–0 is a nightmare for every athlete. This happened in his third international match for the national women’s team, with rugby star Linde van der Velden almost a year ago. In the final of the Rugby Europe Championship, Spain showed no mercy for the Netherlands in Madrid. Signs of course change substantially for van der Velden.
“It was a slap in itself for me,” Van der Velden said on Saturday in Amsterdam after the match against Russia. “I thought then: I don’t want that and that’s why I want to be better.” And according to Castricum’s player, there was only one way to improve: the search for a foreign club.
Van der Velden (25) found it at one of France’s top clubs, Stade Toussain, where Catericum’s men’s coach Mats Marker had some ties. Van der Velden sent his CV and a video, did a test and was offered a contract. A remarkable move for anyone who started playing rugby at the age of only seventeen.
In a room at the National Rugby Center, she says, “I am very tall, but I have spent a lot of time in it.” “I trained for three days with Sevens and two days a week with Castricum. I always had extra skills and a lot of fitness after training. I put on my high light video, because my goal was always to go abroad. ”
She has now been on the Stade Tausman, for eight months, leading the French competition. But Van der Velden has very little time to play, he has to match with the other team. “The level is so high. I’m really a girl and just not good enough. Where I go through some tack in the Netherlands, I put my hand on my ass. ”
Van der Velden does not expect him to stay in France for long. Her dream is to become a British lover. A few weeks ago, he played an exhibition game with the Exeter Chiefs against the Newcastle Falcons. She was offered a contract but is still negotiating with the club. She wants to keep everything to see what is the best option for her.
The language barrier in France may also play a role in the decision to move to England. She works in an architectural firm in Toulouse one day a week. In 2023, the World Cup for Men will be held in France and the stadium at Stade Toulouse will be expanded with a hotel, a museum and apartments. Van der Velden is participating in that project, but the French language makes that difficult easier.
A life as a full-professional is not an option for Dutch rugby players abroad. “We don’t have the level for that,” Van der Velden says honestly. She thinks more Dutch people should go on an adventure. From the team that lost to Russia on Saturday, Tamara Stock (Stade Renais) and Animeke van Vliet (Litchfield Rugby Club) also play across the border. The Pluni unit employed by the Nagato Blue Angels in Japan was missing.
Van der Velden has three goals she wants to add to her resume: playing in the English courtship, participating in the Farah Palmer Cup in New Zealand and reaching the World Cup with the Netherlands. Due to the defeat against Russia, the next global title fight is no longer possible, but for Van der Velden it is certainly a realistic goal in the future.
Lots of talent for my size
Under new national coach Silke Haverkorn, the Netherlands has figured out a new path. For the two Test matches of 2019 against Hong Kong, Haverkorn, a former international, selected fifteen players who had not yet had an international match to their name. Three more players registered their first cap on Saturday against Russia. With ten international matches, Captain van der Velden is one of the most experienced players.
“It is important that we can be together and we don’t have to start over again,” says Van der Velden, who calls the future of Netherlands rugby ‘interesting’. He said, ‘So much talent is flowing in the academies and we now have an under-18 team for the first time. There are already girls of my size in that group, which will be very interesting when they come. ”
Van der Velden and national coach Haverkorn also pointed out a lack of experience due to the loss against Russia. The Netherlands made up with a 0–20 (21–20) deficit, but still handed the victory to the final leg. The next game of the Rugby Europe Championship is on 12 April. A team of Van der Velden is not fond of memories of Elsh: Waiting in Spain.
Advantage dutch male
The Dutch won in Amsterdam 36–17 (halftime 17–17) against Lithuania on Saturday. This was the Orange’s pre-final match at the Rugby Europe Trophy. When the Netherlands beat Switzerland in Geneva next week, the team of new national coach Zen Gardiner will play to promote the Ragga Europe Championship.