WOMENS RUGBY Somerset duo in England starting XV

rugby football union logoTaunton-born Danielle Waterman is set to win her 54th cap at full back for England Women in Friday's series opener against world champions New Zealand at Esher RFC (1930).

Waterman – nicknamed Nolli - was educated at West Somerset Community College and Oldfield Sports College and went on to attain a BA (Hons) in Leisure & Sports Management.

She plays in the position her father Jim occupied in 400-plus senior matches for Bath and is now an AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) talent development officer for the RFU at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, developing potential elite players in the 16 to 18 year old age group.

When Waterman first pulled on an England jersey she became her country's youngest player and added to her distinctions by winning her 50th cap in the FIRA-AER European Cup opener against Spain in Rovereto, Italy in May this year.

Also back in the starting line-up is Bristol flanker Marlie Packer while her team mate - prop Sophie Hemming - returns to action but starts Friday's match from the replacements bench.

Packer started playing rugby at the age of five with Ivel Barbarians, spending 13 seasons with the Yeovil-based club. She moved on to Bath (2007-09) before joining Bristol. Packer was the England Players' Player in the 2012 Six Nations Championship.

Schooled at Birchfield, Buckler's Mead and Yeovil College, Packer works as a plumber for DR Jones in her home town of Yeovil and represented her country at England 19s, U20s and England A before winning a full cap when England beat Sweden 80-3 in the European Championships in Limoges in May 2008.

England became the first side ever to nil the world champions when they last met in a three-match series 12 months ago. After back to back wins over the Black Ferns, the sides drew the final match.

Head coach Gary Street warns: "We know that the Black Ferns will be more motivated than ever to come over here and reverse that result."

England Women starting XV Danielle Waterman; Katherine Merchant (both Worcester) Emily Scarratt (Lichfield) Alice Richardson (Richmond) Michaela Staniford (Wasps); Katy McLean (capt, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); Rochelle Clark (Worcester) Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield) Laura Keates (Worcester) Tamara Taylor (Lichfield) Rowena Burnfield (Richmond) Heather Fisher (Worcester) Marlie Packer (Bristol) Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)

Ready on the bench Emma Croker (Richmond) Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield) Sophie Hemming (Bristol) Emily Braund (Lichfield) Alexandra Matthews (Richmond) Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield) Francesca Matthews (Richmond) Joanne Watmore (Worcester)


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