From Leinster to Clermont’s sister club ASM Romagnat Rugby, Cameroon-born nurse and Irish international Linda Djougang proves a vital team member wherever she goes.
Having worked on the frontline for the past 18 months on a Covid ward in Tallaght Hospital, the 25 year old prop is ready to face a new challenge in France as a full time athlete.
A title not affiliated with many Irish internationals, the 12 time Girls in Green capped player’s deal was brokered by the IRFU in a move that sees her make the venture following September’s World cup qualifiers.
Ireland's Linda Djougang will play for French champions ASM Romagnat Rugby, Clermont's sister club, this season in a move brokered by the IRFU. She'll move after next month's RWC qualifiers and will become a full-time rugby player
— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) August 27, 2021
Romagnat are the reigning champions of the Elite 1 league and associated with Top 14 side Clermont Avergne. There she will join French stalwarts Elise Pignot, Caroline Thomas and Jessy Tremouliere and don the Stade Marcel Michelin in an effort to attain the club’s fourth league cup in their history.
The announcement has furthered calls for a ramp up in the status of the game in this country, given the lack of professional standard across the women’s rugby code in Ireland and the inherent need for a transfer abroad in order to earn such a label.
Others such as Claire Molloy and Cliodhna Moloney have paved the way in doing so and unlike their male counterparts are still granted places on the national team given the lack of availability of payment for their performances here in Ireland.
Metres after contact from Ireland's Linda Djougang. 💪
Laura Sheehan on the latch. pic.twitter.com/MdT1zUPosl
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) October 28, 2020
None other is this exemplified but in that Djougang’s motion was aided by IRFU director Anthony Eddy in what he described as a “really positive move.”
“She will be able to train full-time in a professional environment and test herself regularly against some of the best players in the world” he said.
“We have established a strong connection with the coaches in ASM Romagnat which will allow us to collaborate on Linda’s ongoing development. Linda will remain available for all Ireland camps and matches.”
On the brokerage herself the fluent French speaker said she is “determined to be the best player [she] can be” and thinks the surrounding will “accelerate” her development.
“David (Nucifora) and Anthony have put in a lot of work to make sure this move would be a good fit for me.”
“Playing in the French league week in week out will be incredible and I am really looking forward to committing everything to this opportunity.”
@DjougangLinda 3 years ago you came to to @BalbrigganRFC to help our #giat girls. You told my daughter that she would take your place someday. Well yesterday she took her first step lining out for @LeinsterWomen U18s. #cantseecantbe pic.twitter.com/QtNcpV6cRd
— Kevin Colman (@kevince99) August 22, 2021