Rugby union: Gunnedah Red Devils player Piper Rankmore has excelled in the sport in a short period of time

DOUBLE: Piper Rankmore represented the region in both soccer and rugby union over the past week. Photo: Ben Jaffrey
DOUBLE: Piper Rankmore represented the region in both soccer and rugby union over the past week. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

When Piper Rankmore made her first tackle for the Gunnedah Red Devils, she knew rugby union was the sport for her.

The 16-year-old was hesitant to take up the sport at first as the Red Devils’ playing times clashed with those of her soccer side Gunnedah FC.

“I’ve always wanted to play but soccer has always been my main sport,” Rankmore said.

“It was a toss up. Do I keep playing soccer or play rugby?

“I had one game of rugby and I loved it so I decided to go with rugby.”

Rankmore’s rise in the sport was instant.

After her debut, Rankmore was selected in the Central North under 17s side to compete at the Country Championships where she put in a stellar performance.

The Red Devil scored seven tries on her way to being named best back at the tournament before being selected in the NSW Country under 17s girls squad to play City in Tamworth in August.

Rankmore described the selection as a “shock” as she played the tournament in her non-preferred position. 

“They put me at outside centre but I love playing in the forwards. Second row is where I’d like to be. More hits, more tackles,” Rankmore said.

The newcomer will attend three camps with the representative side before the City-Country game.

They will be held in Bathurst, Canberra and Sydney throughout June and July.

The Gunnedah High School student was looking forward to learning all there is to know.

“Everything,” Rankmore said what she wanted to focus on.

“Especially getting to know the rules a bit more – getting to know the game a bit better.”

Rankmore’s not giving up on soccer, though.

After playing at the Country Championships, the code-hopper turned out for North West at the CHS girls soccer championships.

It was a big five days for the teenager.

“I was surprised I wasn’t sore after the two days of rugby. I was just really drained,” Rankmore said.

“I think we came 11th out of 12 but it was pretty good. We all had fun.”

The City-Country weekend will be on August 4-5.