A real Warrior! Worcester teenager Jemima Moss on her incredible journey from intensive care bed to signing for Premier 15s club
It’s been quite a couple of years for Jemima Moss - from being in intensive care with sepsis to signing her first senior contract at Premier 15s rugby club Worcester Warriors.
She says the club were ‘unbelievably supportive’ when she fell ill at the age of 16 in 2018 and gave her the ‘extra push’ of motivation to get back on the pitch.
The 18 year-old spoke to NewsChain about her journey and just what it means to be involved in the Premier 15s.
“Warriors were there for me the entire time, helping me with rehab and then six months later I was there playing for them. Just before I got sepsis I was starting pre-season with the senior squad and that was amazing to be in that environment at 16,” she said.
“Then after [I was out of hospital] all my rehab was in with the senior team which really boosted my confidence. All the coaches were really helpful, all the senior players, all my team-mates so once I was in that senior environment it was just working on my performance and I had a few games at the end of that season.
“I think [getting back on the pitch] was about motivation, a lot of getting back to my feet and a lot of that had to be self-driven. But that extra push through the senior players, team-mates and coaching staff was just unbelievable. That extra push just got me to where I needed to be, it was just amazing.”
And Moss credits one particular conversation she had in hospital that made her even more determined to return to the pitch.
"When I came back to consciousness on a paediatric ward Lark Davies, who was an ex- Warriors player, and Benny Williams, who was the centre of excellence head coach at the time, they both came to visit me and we were talking about battles and motivation.
“I think that conversation really motivated me and got me back to rugby. I don’t think there was ever a full doubt if I’d return as I always had self belief that I would get back but that conversation really pushed me to truly believe that.”
Not only has Moss returned to the sport after a life-threatening illness, she has proved her skill on the pitch and earned a first-team contract for the first time.
She recalls the moment Warriors head coach Jo Yapp told her the news.
"It felt amazing! I was on a call with Jo Yapp and Benny Williams and Jo was talking to me, saying how impressed she was and she asked if I would like to accept and I said yeah. Oh I was so happy!
“I’ve been talking to Jo previously and she said they saw potential in me and wanted to keep me around the club. But it was between a dual contract, which means still having a contract at Warriors but playing at a different club, or having a full contract and she offered me the full contract which was amazing.”
Moss, who just finished her A levels, is taking a gap year before university so she can concentrate on her rugby. At the moment the Premier 15s still don’t have a return to play date and so all she can do is train at the club.
But she hasn’t allowed the delay to get her down.
“No not at all. Just being in the Prem training environment is amazing. Even being in small groups, being surrounded by everybody, my motivation has gone up and it gives me much more time to feel more comfortable with the senior players.”
Warriors were one of the clubs that survived the re-tendering process earlier this year that saw Richmond and Firwood Waterloo replaced by Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs.
Moss said the experience has only made them more determined to be successful this season.
"We were obviously fighting at the end of last season with a few home games wins which gave us confidence heading into next season. When we heard we were in next season every single one of us were over the moon and probably gave us adrenaline to show other Premiership teams what we are worth.
"We have had a lot of Zoom calls and split up into different groups and we've spoken about our goals this season. How we want to be the most fierce, the most competitive, we definitely want to be in the top five this season.
“There are so many goals we want to achieve as a team, a club and individually that we all are going to achieve and it's definitely been the main focus of our Zoom calls at the moment.”
After this year is up, Moss is looking to study either human biology or sports exercise and health science at university.
However, if she were to be presented with an England contract before then she says she’d definitely take it.
“If that was the opportunity I had I'd absolutely go down that route. That's my biggest aspiration to play for England and to get that rose on my chest and so I'd always choose that if it were in front of me."
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