Alhambra The Final Whistle

There are some sporting lives that transcend the very game itself, individuals who find themselves, through no fault of their own, as pathfinders for their gender, their country and even their sport.

Responsibilities of this nature can weigh heavily on the broadest of shoulders, but some can carry the load with dignity, grace, poise eloquence and no little skill.

One such individual is Alhambra Nievas-Gonzalez.

Rugby is fortunate to have Ali in its ranks, the values, ethics and all that is good about the game, will continue to shine through in whatever role she turns her hand to, now that she has hung up her whistle.

She has broken down barriers, and prejudices, that have eased the way for those that follow her.

Those referees, of which there are many, have been inspired by her actions, deeds and her example, and as a result, they will not have to suffer such gender scrutiny and intense publicity thanks to her efforts.

We can be eternally grateful that Ali chose our sport in which to grace her presence, those of us who have met her, and watched her on the field of play, can count ourselves lucky, those of us who are privileged enough to call her our friend can feel truly blessed.

As humble and content driving the tractor during the family olive harvest in Granada, as she is performing at the biggest events in the greatest stadiums in the world, Alhambra has closed one chapter of her life, and what a brilliant read it has been.

Gracias amigo hasta pronto.

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