Hartpury products picked for England Women’s squads

SEVEN Hartpury students could have the chance to shine on the international stage after being selected in England’s elite and Under-20s women’s squads announced today.

Megan Jones, Sydney Gregson and Abbie Brown have all been called up to the Elite Player Squad that will compete in the Six Nations in February and March and the IRB Sevens World Series, which kicks off in Dubai in December.

They will join players from the triumphant England Women’s Rugby World Cup winning squad, who include former Hartpury students Natasha Hunt, Ceri Large and Alex Matthews.

Their Hartpury team-mates – Zoe Aldcroft, Sarah Bern, May Campbell and Jade Shekells – have all been selected for the 26-strong England Under-20s, who will play France home and away in February and March and will also contest an international summer tour.

All seven current Hartpury students selected for the two squads are part of the hugely successful Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) Women’s Rugby programme at Hartpury.

The former coach of that programme, Danielle Waterman, also features in the Elite Player Squad, while five talented players who graduated from the programme last year have also made the Under-20s squad – Vicci Cogger, Caity Mattinson, Lucy Nye, Amy Wigley and Millie Wood.

They will be joined in that squad by five more former Hartpury students – Henri Burkinshaw, Devon Holt, Sarah Nicholas, Abi Parsons and Abi Walker. Amy Cockayne, who studied A-levels at Hartpury, is also among England Women’s head coach Gary Street’s picks for the Elite Player Squad.

Peter Cook, who heads up the AASE Women’s Rugby programme at Hartpury, said: “This is an exceptionally proud day for everyone at Hartpury, seeing so many of our current and former students picked for international squads.

“It’s testament to the strength of the AASE programme here that it continues to produce such a wealth of young women’s rugby talent and with news like this, its reputation will only continue to grow.

“It’s likely that some of the girls will play across both the elite and Under-20s squads and I know that whatever opportunity they get, they will grab it with both hands.

“They will all take confidence from playing and training alongside so many others who have come through the Hartpury ranks, and for the girls in the elite squad, being among World Cup winners will be a real inspiration. Everyone at Hartpury wishes them all the best as they pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level