L – R: Clara Nielson, Lucy Demaine and Poppy Leitch

Exeter Women’s Rugby scholars help to secure England National Academy victory against Canada

Current and former Women’s Rugby scholars from the University of Exeter played for England Women’s National Academy earlier this month, winning two test fixtures against the Canada Maple Leafs. Among those chosen for the squad were current students Clara Nielson and Poppy Leitch; alumnae Lucy Demaine and Zoe Saynor; and ex-Athletic Union president Alexandra Powell.

Both matches were played at Esher Rugby Club in Surrey, on Tuesday 1 December and Saturday 5 December respectively. The first match was a hard-fought win for England, with two tries from Poppy Leitch helping the team to a 37-29 victory. The second match resulted in a close finish, but England came out on top again with 22 points to Canada’s 19.

Jo Yapp, Women’s Rugby coach at the University of Exeter, was impressed by the result, saying: “I am really proud of the Exeter girls - it is great to see all their hard work and commitment paying off. During their time at Exeter they were all great role models, and our current scholars are no exception. Also, credit should go to the High Performance Programme and the Strength and Conditioning staff at Exeter, who are all really supportive of the women's programme.” Yapp herself is a former England international player and squad captain, who gained 70 caps for her country over the course of her sporting career and now coaches up-and-coming athletes at Exeter. In November 2014, she was selected by Sports Coach UK to be part of the UK Sport Aspire Coaching Programme.

Rugby is one of nine focus sports at Exeter, and the institution was ranked first for Rugby in the 2014/15 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) rankings. If you are interested in supporting Rugby at the University of Exeter and helping us to continue to support student athletes to achieve their goals, check out the Rugby Union Club’s Crowdfunding appeal. Donations up to £10,000 will be matched 1:1 thanks to a generous donor, so donations of any size would be very gratefully received. To thank donors for their support, the club will issue rewards including polo shirts, ties and car stickers. Sponsorship packages are also available – contact the club captain to discuss.

Date: 8 December 2015