Partridge backs new era for club

LAUNCESTON Rugby Union Club has stepped into unchartered waters, appointing a female president for the first time in its history, with the aim of destroying its perceived "boys' club" culture.

Joanne Partridge said this was the feeling she first encountered when her son started playing for the Royal Park club five years ago.

"It's good for us to have a female president, as I have a different insight to a man," she said.

"It won't be as much of a `man's club', it will be more family- orientated.

"We've had some family days down here, cleaned up the club rooms and found that family and social members have come back."

Partridge, whose 11-year-old twin sons Hayden and Mitchell and husband Shaun play at the club, is hoping the flow-on effect will help the club become a more prominent part of the city.

The club has added Scottish-born forward coach Jeff Sutton and New Zealander backs coach Warde Macintosh to its coaching staff.

Partridge said they had brought a "team atmosphere" to the group.

Training is held Tuesdays and Thursdays at Royal Park, juniors from 5pm to 6pm and seniors 6pm to 8pm. The club will begin its season against Eastern Suburbs at 2.30pm on Saturday, April 26.

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