Professor Giovanna Moura is going to be a star at the Rugby League World Cup in October and November. She is an academic with several published papers, she is a teacher and she plays rugby league for Brazil.
Giovanna is already a well-known player on the Sevens circuit and came to rugby league in 2019 at a try-out for the Brazilian squad once they had qualified for RLWC2021 and now she is focussed on helping her nation to be the surprise package of the competition and she believes that they have to background to achieve that, “We have a lot of fast girls with good handling and we bring experience from sevens. I think this can be our differential. We also have very smart athletes, with a good vision of the game and that will certainly make a difference in our game.”
Training for Giovanna is in full swing, and it fits around her work and academic commitments. Four or five gym sessions a week, a Pilates class and two field sessions with her teammates sounds like it should be ok!
As a physical education professional, Giovanna has some advantages in her professional and sporting lives. Being an elite athlete brings her closer to her students. They identify with her because she lives the subject every day. Her sports career also gives her additional insight into the subject, how sport is structured, the movements required and how to train and prepare. All of this assists and informs her teaching.
From an academic perspective, Giovanna’s doctorate is based around sports policies for women and what better way to test the theory than to live it? “I know the reality of being an athlete. I understand how competitions and their funding work. I am able to look at data and ask the correct questions, all of which lead to solutions to the various challenges facing women in sport.”
The process also works in reverse, her teaching and studies inform her performance. I am able to understand the phases of training, when to push and when to ease back. I am a communicator at work, and this comes through in training and on the field. An important aspect too, is learning from every experience, “I often reflect on the way I am on the field and in training, which is a help, but also often exhausting. However it is definitely enjoyable and helpful.”
What does a post- world cup career look like, could Giovanna see herself playing in the NRLW or the Women’s Super League or does she see herself staying in Brazil to help develop that championship? “I think playing in another country would be so amazing that I can hardly imagine it!
“In addition to getting to know other cultures, meeting new people, dedicating myself exclusively to competitions, I would discover new ways and a new intensity of play, it would be a such a huge challenge.
“But at the same time, I also think it’s important to keep promoting women’s rugby competitions here in Brazil. Encouraging practice, trying to keep the level of competitiveness high, helping to structure teams, this is something that we cannot let go.”
With Giovanna in the squad, women’s rugby league in Brazil is in expert hands.