Top: Nancy McGillivray, Bottom: Poppy Leitch
University of Exeter representation in the England Women's training squad
Head coach Simon Middleton has named a 42-player England Women training squad for the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations, with EURFC Women's Head Coach Poppy Leitch and student Nancy McGillivray both selected.
The squad is made up of 23 forwards and 19 backs.
McGillivray is one of nine uncapped players in the squad, having represented England U20s last year, whilst Leitch is named for the first time since 2019.
The group will meet at St. George’s Park on Monday (6 March) for the first of two preparation camps at the East Midlands venue.
England open their TikTok Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Newcastle (Saturday 25 March, KO 4.45pm at Kingston Park), before hosting Italy (Sunday 2 April, KO 3pm at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton).
They then travel to Cardiff to take on Wales at Cardiff Arms Park (Saturday 15 April, KO 2.15pm) before visiting Ireland (Saturday 22 April, KO 2.15pm, Musgrave Park, Cork).
All teams are again in action on ‘Super Saturday’ where England's final game of the tournament sees them host France in the team’s first standalone fixture at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 29 April, KO 1pm.
Head coach Middleton said: “We’re really looking forward to the TikTok Six Nations tournament. There are a number of new faces in this squad and while we are missing experienced players, this is a great opportunity for these younger players and we’re looking forward to working with them."
McGillivray burst onto the scene last season in the green and white of EURFC, eventually progressing into the Exeter Chiefs squad, where she has since become a mainstay of the match day side, including an appearance in the final last season.
As for Leitch, she has been a mainstay of rugby here in Exeter, having played for the BUCS winning university sides of 2018 and 2019, before going on to become women's Head Coach at the university, where she has led her side back to the top end of women's university rugby this season.
Leitch is also captain at Exeter Chiefs, who currently sit top of the Allianz Premier15s table.
They are both joined in the Red Roses squad by alumni Bryony Cleall, Amber Reed and LagiTuima, whilst fellow alumni Clara Nielson has been named in the Ireland squad for the tournament as well as Caity Mattinson in the Scotland squad.
Seven current and former students will have the opportunity to represent their country in the tournament, showcasing the strength of the rugby programme here in Exeter.
Reflecting on the squad announcements, University of Exeter Director of Sport Alison Davidson commented "Its brilliant to see one of our current students and a member of staff named in the England Women training squad for the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations. We are really proud of our women's rugby programme here at Exeter and continue to enjoy celebrating the achievements of our current students and alumnae. Congratulations to all our current students and alumnae named in their respective nations squads and we look forward to following the tournament".
Written by Harry Scott-Munro (EURFC Media)
Date: 2 March 2023