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Player of the Week: Lilly Durbin

  • 07 Mar 2016

The mid-air fend vs. Great Britain. /// Photo: Jackie Finlan


Picking a Player of the Week was tough, but the LVI’s two elite divisions helped narrow down the field. The Women’s Elite pit teams from five continents against each other, while the impact of academies and all-star programs made a pronounced difference in the high school leagues.


But there was one player of note missing from the high school ranks: Lilly Durbin. The All American is one of the most well known high schoolers in the game, but she was pushing it further than any of her contemporaries. Durbin, a junior at Fallbrook High School in California, played in the Women’s Elite division with Atavus, and she did more than hold her own.


Prior to the tournament, Atavus coach Richie Walker called attention to the youngster, who slotted in at scrumhalf. She’s used to playing up, but this was really pushing it.


“I call myself ‘grandpa’ because I’m legitimately twice her age,” three-time World Cup vet Nathalie Marchino said of her Atavus teammate. “But she’s just so good. It’s been a real pleasure because she has so much potential. Her skill level is probably where our skill level was when we were 8-10 years older than she is, so I feel like she’s just going to continue to develop. To be that mature and level-headed at that age, it’s really impressive. She’s going to be an amazing player for sure – I mean, she already is, in my opinion.”


Durbin started in Atavus’ first game against Rugby Quebec, and she scored the opening try with one of her first touches of the ball. She jumped in the lineout, attacked the line without hesitation, and flashed that diehard speed when chasing down breakaways from across the pitch. Being as small as she is, she did struggle with that straight-on, square hit, but she always held on and finished the tackle with a second surge.


Her education continued with games against Cup finalists Great Britain and France, an Aussie/North American Stars, and an aggressive South Africa. Several players on the aforementioned teams will be competing in the Olympics this summer.


Dubrin, our Player of the Week, is fast, smart and always playing up, and continues to be a very fun player to watch.

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