The Queensland Women’s XV head coach became the first female in 15 years to complete Australia’s Level 3 Coaching Accreditation, a feat she didn’t she had achieved.
“I didn’t realise that, as I know two female coaches that have their level 3 accreditation, but it was very humbling and I’m very lucky to be given the opportunities I have,” she said.
Growing up in New Zealand, a country which dominates the international rugby scene, it isn’t hard to see why Virtue fell in love with the game.
In every town across the country, whether it was small or large, there was a rugby club but the sport was kind of in her blood too.
“My Nan played, my Koro and Dad were Maori All Blacks and every Saturday growing up you always went to Rugby,” Virtue said.
“Once I started playing, I loved the physicality of the game, the learnings around trying to create opportunities, but probably what kept me in the game was the team camaraderie.
“I’ve met all my best mates through Rugby it’s what’s kept my passion alive.”
The last 12 months have not only seen Virtue become the assistant coach of the Wallaroos, Australia’s national XV team but her university sevens side, Griffith University crowned Champions of the AON University 7s Series.
Griffith had come third in 2017 but last year put on a dominant display throughout the five round season, finishing top of the ladder with 94 points, eight clear of runners-up and defending champions, University of Queensland.
However, her experience with the Wallaroos was the biggest highlight.
“Being an assistant coach for the Wallaroos was probably my biggest highlight. It was a goal, which I had made probably four years ago when I was coaching Queensland, so was super stoked to get that opportunity,” she said.
Her love for the game and the enjoyment she has found in rugby has seen her encourage other women to get involved in the game whether it’s through coaching or playing.
“Go to your local club, join up and just rip in. Rugby is a tough sport, but if you can push through a little bit of pain you will love it,” Virtue said.
“Regarding female coaches, I think its confidence that stops more women coaches emerging. I started as a player-coach, so this was a good introduction into coaching and having a good mentor as well.”