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University helps Erica combine study and rugby

Written By Julianna Benson on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | 11:52 PM

University helps Erica combine study and rugbyUniversity helps Erica combine study and rugby - WHEN Erica Fowler first picked up that oval-shaped
ball at age six, she was surrounded by a bunch of smelly little boys.

Rather than running away, she embraced being the only girl on the field.

Erica played rugby union with boys until Year 5 when she was told she could no longer be a member of the team - a bunch of kids she considered her best mates.

The 20-year-old Peregian Beach resident went on to play with girls, which she says was when the "rough stuff" began.

"When I was playing with the boys, they didn't want to touch me because I was a girl," she said.

"It was a shock to the system when I first played with the girls because I was actually being tackled.

"Girls are rough."

Now a member of the Noosa Dolphins Phinettes Women's team and the Stingrays Women's Sevens side, Erica juggles her love of rugby with her paramedic science studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Her dual passion for sport and her career was recognised yesterday when she received one of two USC Encouragement Foundation Rugby Scholarships. (see HERE)

Erica is believed to be the first female rugby sevens player in Australia to receive the scholarship, which will provide $3000 for each year of her degree.

Fellow scholarship recipient Luke Kimber, a Sunshine Coast Stingrays player studying to be a physiotherapist, said seeing a woman recognised for her success in rugby was great.

"It's a pleasure to watch Erica play," he said. "She's a great player and she deserves all the recognition."

The scholarship will help Erica complete her degree while undertaking work experience with Queensland Ambulance Service, doing part-time work with ASSIST First Aid and playing rugby.

She hopes to realise her ultimate dream - making the Australian Women's side - by 2016 for the Rio Olympics.
Source : http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au
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