Zoe Saynor has competed for England and the Nomads.

Saynor returns from Nomad duty

University of Exeter Alumna (PhD Children’s Health and Exercise Research, 2013) and former rugby scholar Zoe Saynor has returned from a busy summer with the international Nomads squad who squared up against South Africa in a two match series this July.

The England capped second row joined players from across the home nations and New Zealand in the female equivalent of the Barbarians. The invitational side is designed for top players not currently involved in international competition to play friendly matches against sides from both the UK and further a-field. 

Despite the Nomad’s losing the series 2:0 to a World Cup ready South African side, Saynor put in an impressive performance, powering over the line after a rolling maul in the second match played at Adams Park, home to London Wasps.

She commented: “It is always a fantastic opportunity to be involved in international fixtures.

“Being chosen to represent the Nomads provides a different exciting challenge for players who have but are not currently representing their country. The team only meets only a couple of hours before kick-off, completes minimal preparation and run through, and then takes to the field. However, with the calibre of players in the squad it is always fantastic fun!

“This is the second time I have been involved in Nomads fixtures, having previously played against Wales as part of their preparation for the Six Nations. This test against South Africa was part of their final preparations for the World Cup in Paris and they wanted to face tough opposition before flying to France.

“We knew that they were going to be physical, but we put in a strong performance and grew over the course of the games, despite significant changes to the squad for the second match. It was an amazing experience and I was proud to be invited to get another two Nomads caps under my belt.”

A Nations Cup runner up for England in 2013, Saynor also formed an integral part of the University of Exeter’s 2013 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) National Championship winning squad.

Rugby is a Focus Sport of the University of Exeter, whose players have received considerable international acclaim this year. Former women’s captain Amber Reed having been selected to compete at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, whilst Luke Treharne travelled to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games with his native Wales in Rugby 7s. The Men’s first team also saw five players line-up amongst the England Students ranks against France in January. A further three players have been selected in the squad for the World University Rugby 7s Championships in Brazil this August and a number of players also compete for Premiership side Exeter Chiefs.

Acting Director of Sport Nick Beasant said: “It’s been a superb year for Rugby at Exeter and performances like these are why we have one of the most prestigious programmes within the Higher Education sector.

“For a long time Zoe has been one of the standout athletes on the Sports Scholarship Scheme and her performance for the Nomads is testament to this.”

Date: 8 August 2014