Having represented Wales at both football and basketball, USW student Hannah Bluck achieved a sporting treble this year.
The 20-year-old Sport student was chosen to be a part of the squad for this year’s Women’s Six Nations squad. She was one of 10 uncapped players among the 36 chosen.
The selection capped a whirlwind few years for Hannah, who is studying for a degree in Strength and Conditioning at USW.
Having already represented Wales in basketball when she was in school, aged just 15, within the space of eight weeks Hannah, who played centre-back, had represented Wales in football at three age levels – under-16s, under-17s and under-19s.
However, the promising career took a major knock when Hannah broke her leg just above the ankle.
“I was just training and went to turn quickly, and it just snapped,” she explained. “It was obviously a huge shock, and I had to just get used to not training. I used to train all the time, but the injury sort of proved that I had to take control of it, and make sure it was planned.”
There was also a double shock for Hannah, who also discovered she had the rare condition avascular necrosis in her tibia, which could have seen her leg collapse into her ankle.
“I thought I could have lost my foot after the fracture, and definitely may not have been able to continue playing,” Hannah explained.
“But I had MRI scans on the foot to keep an eye on it did my rehab, and was able to get back to playing.”
After returning to the playing football, Hannah was asked to help out with training the Women’s Rugby Team at USW, and it’s from there that she started to consider playing a different sport.
“When I was doing the coaching I had a go at goal kicking. That was last February, and I thought I’d give rugby a go,” she said.
“I was selected to play for the Cardiff Blues, and the next thing I was asked to try out for the Wales squad. After spending the summer coaching in America, I came back and was approached again, and now I’m in the squad for the Six Nations.
“I couldn’t be happier to have been given the chance to represent Wales. I’m really keen to be a role model, and show others that it’s possible to achieve anything if you work hard enough.
“With the women’s game becoming more and more popular, and the men’s game already being strong, I’m hoping to be able to use my degree and get a job in the strength and conditioning side of things, and I can only see my experience helping with that.”