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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 February, 2019

RFU unveil 28 women given full-time professional contracts

Simon Middleton announced his 35-strong Six Nations squad today.

Centre Emily Scarratt kicks at goal during the World Cup final.
Centre Emily Scarratt kicks at goal during the World Cup final.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

ENGLAND WOMEN’S HEAD coach Simon Middleton and the RFU today announced their 28-strong group of full-time professionals within a 35-woman Six Nations squad.

The RFU confirmed in September that they would return to full-time contracts for their 15-a-side squad this year, having employed a core squad leading up to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Middleton will have 2014 World Cup winners Katy Daley-McLean, Sarah Hunter, Marlie Packer and Vicky Fleetwood working under him on a full-time basis for the campaign ahead.

2017 finalists Emily Scarratt, Rachael Burford, Vickii Cornborough, Abbie Scott, Lydia Thompson and Amy Cokayne are also in the squad, though Cokayne is included as one of seven Elite Player Squad (EPS) agreements as she will balance international rugby commitments with her role in the RAF.

Sarah Beckett, Carys Williams and Tatyana Heard are among the new names to earn full-time status as the squad gathered in a new Bisham Abbey training base today. 

“I am confident that this group of players have the potential to grow into the world-class squad we will be looking to take to New Zealand in 2021,” said Middleton.

“As a player and management group, our immediate focus is very much on the Six Nations and the continued development of what is a still a very new squad of players. 

The introduction of full-time contracts will take time to embed but will unquestionably help us to accelerate the development process.

“This is a huge opportunity and we recognise the expectation that comes with the investment. It is now down to us as a management and playing group to meet those expectations.”

England Women Elite Player Squad 2019


Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury Womens RFC)
Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo Ladies)
Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women)
Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women)
Jo Brown (Loughborough Lightning)
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC)*
Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies)
Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women)*
Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women)
Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies)*
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies)
Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries)
Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women)
Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning)
Justine Lucas (Loughborough Lightning)
Cath O’ Donnell (Loughborough Lightning)
Marlie Packer (Saracens Women)
Ellena Perry (Saracens Women)*
Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies)


Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies)
Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies)
Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning)
Abby Dow (Wasps FC Ladies)*
Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women)
Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury Womens RFC)
Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury Womens RFC)
Claudia Macdonald (Wasps FC Ladies)*
Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women)
Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies)
Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning)
Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies)*
Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury Womens RFC)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries)
Lagi Tuima (Bristol Bears Women)
Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning)

* denotes EPS agreement

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Andy Dunne look back on a memorable year for Irish rugby.

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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