Seven Hampshire girls in L&SE squads


Seven of Hampshire's flourishing young Girls rugby players have been recognised by the London and South-East Divisional selectors and have been called for a selection of matches against the other regions over the course of a next few weeks.


Ellingham and Ringwood pair Sophie Carey (left) and number 8 Rachel Merrien (right) are two of those called up.


Played across two age groups, U15s and U18s, in England’s four divisions - North, Midlands, London & South East and South West, the programme provides a challenging, high quality, performance environment within each division.

This enables the individual development of players who have the potential, ambition and commitment to become the best they can be.


There are three rounds of matches between

now and the conclusion of the programme in late April, and all are taking place in a central venue at Birmingham Exiles RFC in Elmdon, Solihull, West Midlands.


This will involve over 200 players at the same venue, which will not only increase the overall image of the programme, but will help to highlight the importance of the divisional programme within the player pathway.


The standard of the players being selected into the divisional squads has increased again this year through having more joined-up training weekends.


This has meant a greater focus on position-specific development and small unit skill work, rather than purely team preparation.


The delivery of the Divisional Programme is overseen nationally by the RFU Player Development Manager and divisionally by RFU Divisional Talent Development Officers (DTDOs).


Andy Paton, RFU Player Development Manager said: “The key focus this year across all of our pathway programmes has been to maximise the amount of training and contact time that the players receive and this has resulted in increased training sessions while on training camps and more master classes with the DTDOs


“The centralised matches at Birmingham Exiles provide the players with an opportunity to test themselves against other players from within the programme and to have the chance to push their claims for further involvement in programmes within the player pathway such as the National Talent Development Group at U15 and U18.


“Having the matches at a central venue will also allow the DTDOs to be present to assess players and select for future the programmes at both 15s and 7s.”



Players who have graduated from the Divisional Programme through to the England Elite Player Squads, XVs and 7s, include Leanne Reilly, Amber Reed, Hannah Gallagher, Amy Wilson-Hardy, Emily Scott and Meg Goddard.


London & South East squads

U18s: Ellena Perry (Welwyn, Hertfordshire), Hannah West (Basingstoke, Hampshire), Georgia Bradley (Rochford, Essex), Laura Tolley (Aylesford, Kent), Florence Jones (Welwyn, Hertfordshire), Sarah Bern (Esher, Surrey), Harriet Austin (Welwyn, Hertfordshire), Sue Neumann (Esher, Surrey), Emma Swords (Esher, Surrey), Rebecca Wadhams (Medway, Kent), Sophie Carey (Ellingham & Ringwood, Hampshire), Zoe Harrison (Welwyn, Hertfordshire), Caitlin Ward (Esher, Surrey), Jess Breach (South Sussex Barbarians, Sussex), Hermione Caddick (South Sussex Barbarians, Sussex), Jordan Hopkins (South Sussex Barbarians, Sussex), Faye Smale (Rochford, Essex), Faye Baker (Medway, Kent), Rachel Merrien (Ellingham & Ringwood, Hampshire), Lucy Mortimer (Esher, Surrey), Rosie Gallighan (Aylesford, Kent), Eloise Bloomfield (Saracens, Middlesex), Emma Uren (Grasshoppers, Middlesex).

U15s: Lara Akinnawonu (Thurrock and Essex), Morgan Freeman (Beckenham and Kent), Emily Ferguson (Rochford and Essex), Rosanna Moynihan (Welwyn and Hertfordshire), Holly Brando (Old Albanian and Hertfordshire), Isobel Hall (Ellingham & Ringwood and Hampshire), Phoebe Murray (Ellingham & Ringwood and Hampshire), Helena Rowland (Welwyn and Hertfordshire), Olivia Almond (Old Albanian and Hertfordshire), Hannah Botterman (Welwyn and Hertfordshire), Alice Burtonshaw (West Kent and Kent), Anna Liddelow (Welwyn and Hertfordshire), Lydia Kearney (Ellingham & Ringwood and Hampshire), Samantha Willmott (Colchester and Eastern Counties), Izzy Denny (Ealing and Middlesex), Katie Boggas (Harlow and Hertfordshire), Ellie Gisbourne (Pulborough and Sussex), Amy Relf (Aylesford Bulls and Kent), Florence Heap (Basingstoke and Hampshire), Ella Wyrwas (Saracens and Middlesex).


Fixtures are:

March 16

U15: Midlands v London & South East (12pm), South West v North (12pm)

U18: Midlands v London & South East (2pm), South West North (2pm)

March 30

U15: North v London & South East (12pm), Midlands v South West (12pm)

U18: North v London & South East (2pm), Midlands v South West (2pm)

April 27

U15: South West v London & South East (12pm), North v Midlands (12pm)

U18: South West v London & South East (2pm); North v Midlands (2pm)

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