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Home > News > London & South East women ready for Divisional opener
Your News London & South East women ready for Divisional opener

THE 2013 RFU Women’s Divisional Programme kicks off this Sunday (February 17) with London & South East involved in a triple-header of matches at senior, Under-18 and Under-15 levels.

The Divisional Programme started in 2010 and is crucial in developing talent to improve rugby at all levels of the women’s and girls’ player pathway, with the objective of producing future England internationals at XVs and Sevens.

Played across three age groups in England’s four divisions - North, Midlands, London & South East and South West – the programme provides a challenging, high quality, performance environment within each division, enabling individual development of players who have the potential, ambition and commitment to become the best they can be.

There are four rounds of matches between now and the conclusion of the programme in late March.

The seniors play three fixtures each in a round-robin tournament, as do the Under-18s where the overriding emphasis is on development over match results.

The U15s will kick off as part of the triple-header on February 17 and play two further matches on their second and final fixture date, March 24.

Gary Street, England Head Coach, commented on the pathway for women and girls in English rugby union and gave a description of where the Divisional Programme fits in.

“The RFU’s Women’s and Girls’ Player Pathway can see players progressing from club rugby to representing their county, their division and even their country,” Street said.

“One of the programme’s most recent stars is Emily Braund, who made her England debut in the Six Nations of 2012. Just months earlier Emily was running out for the Midlands team.

“With the aim of broadening our female playing base and finding and developing England’s best rugby talent, the Player Pathway includes an enhanced Club Programme, a fully functional County Programme and a Divisional Programme.”

England’s XVs team are the reigning champions and seven-times consecutive winners of the Women’s Six Nations Championship, and they beat world champions New Zealand in an historic 3-0 series whitewash last autumn.

The delivery of the Divisional Programme is overseen nationally by the RFU Player Development Manager (PDM) and divisionally by RFU Divisional Talent Development Officers (DTDOs).

Players who have graduated from the Divisional Programme through to the England Elite Player Squad include Emily Braund, Ceri Large, Amber Reed, Jenny Brightmore, Lauren Cattell, Hannah Gallagher, Kate Newton, Sally Tuson, Ruth Laybourne, Alex Matthews.

London & South East kick off their programme against the South West at Frome RFC in Somerset, and Alex Austerberry, the DTDO who previously worked on Saracens’ coaching staff, is relishing the challenge.

“The Divisional programme gets into full swing this weekend following on from the trials and the training weekend,” said Austerberry, who succeeds Maggie Alphonsi in this role.

“The quality of the players within the squads is a great testament to the work that is going on in the clubs throughout the Division.

“This year the London & South East senior squad has seen a number of new faces enter the programme with 20 players progressing to the Divisional programme.

“Two players, Rochelle Smith and Catherine Pugh, have quickly made the transition from U18s rugby to the senior Divisional squad.

“Head Coach David Mobbs-Smith and Assistant Coach Phil Sharp will be looking forward to repeating the success of last year both in terms of results but more importantly in the development of players as they push on through the pathway and hopefully on to competing for international honours.

“The U18s will once again be led by Head Coach Simon Burgess assisted by Jack Baird.

“Having watched the players over the last weekend during the training camp at Brunel University, it is clear there is immense potential and desire amongst the squad.

“Many new faces have also been selected in this year’s U15 squad and there is also a new coach in place with Roy Davies heading up the team with Sam Carpenter returning as Assistant Coach.

“The quality and quantity of the players at trial was very high and the players are sure to be tested at the weekend against a perennially strong South West Division.

“Having the opportunity and a programme that enables players from across the country to test themselves and play high quality and high intensity games is fantastic as it bloods players and prepares them for the next stages in their playing careers.

“It is certainly a very exciting time for rugby within London & South East and for English rugby.”

RFU Women’s Divisional Programme 2013 - fixtures:

February 17:


North v Midlands (Scarborough RFC, 1.45pm), South West v London & South East (Frome RFC, 1.45pm)


North v Midlands (Scarborough RFC, 12pm), South West v London & South East (Frome RFC, 12pm)


North v Midlands (Scarborough RFC, 12pm), South West v London & South East (Frome RFC, 12pm).

March 3:


North v South West (Waterloo RFC, 2pm), London & South East v Midlands (Cobham, 2pm).

March 10:


London & South East v North (Esher RFC, 2.30pm), South West v Midlands (Frome RFC, 2.30pm)


London & South East v North (Esher RFC, 12.30pm), South West v Midlands (Frome RFC, 12.30pm).

March 24:


Midlands v London & South East (Hartpury College, k-o tbc), South West v North (Hartpury College, k-o tbc)


Midlands v London & South East (Hartpury College, k-o tbc), South West v North (Hartpury College, k-o tbc).

London & South East Seniors:

15 Georgia Peedle, Saracens, Middlesex

14 Ama Mayes, Saracens, Middlesex

13 Rochelle Smith, Saracens, EPS

12 Louise Meadows, Saracens, Middlesex

11 Holly Myers, Richmond, Surrey

10 Sarah McKenna, Wasps, Herts (vice-capt)

9 Rebecca Bushell, Saracens, Herts

1 Ellisha Dee, Richmond, Surrey

2 Mercedes Foy, Thurrock, Essex (capt)

3 Jessica Bain, Wasps, Middlesex

4 Ellie Gatlin, Saracens, Eastern Counties

5 Debbie McCormack, Richmond, Kent

6 Claire Phelps, Thurrock, Eastern Counties

7 Leah Carey, Saracens, Herts

8 Sam McCarthy, Richmond, Surrey

16 Laura Kapo, Richmond, Surrey

17 Daniker Willimore, Wasps, Middlesex

18 Mica Evans, Saracens, Middlesex

19 Francesca Jordan, Thurrock, Essex

20 Libby Povey, Richmond, Surrey

21 Poppy Cleall, Saracens, Herts

22 Stacey White, Saracens, Middlesex.

London & South East U18s:

15 Sydney Gregson, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

14 Lotte Clapp, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

13 Ellie Ambridge, Aylesford, Kent

12 Emma Swords, Esher, Surrey (vice-capt)

11 Hannah Phillip, Beckenham, Kent

10 Flo Williams, Aylesford, Kent

9 Serena Carter, Richmond, Surrey

1 Ella Levey, Aylesford, Kent

2 Lydia Beard, Aylesford, Kent

3 Vicci Cogger, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

4 Laura Tolley, Aylesford, Kent

5 Lydia Davey, Esher, Surrey

6 Sarah Bern, Esher, Surrey

7 Harriet Austin, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

8 Fran Hall, Richmond, Hampshire (capt)

16 Hannah West, Basingstoke, Hampshire

17 Georgina Bradley, Rochford, Essex

18 Sue Nuemann, Esher, Surrey

19 Maddy Lockwood, Rochford, Essex

20 Bryony Pomfret, Welwyn, Hertfordshire

21 Rebecca Pritchard, Esher, Surrey

22 Caitlin Ward, Esher, Surrey

London & South East U15s (Note, U15s play with six forwards):

15 Lydia Kearney, Ellingham and Ringwood, Hampshire

14 Karis Curtis, Pulborough, Sussex

13 Jess Breach, South Sussex Barbarians, Sussex

12 Hannah Botterman, Welwyn, Herts

11 Sophie Carey, Ellingham and Ringwood, Hampshire

10 Zoe Harrison, Welwyn, Herts

9 Tazmin Bricknell, Medway, Kent (vice-capt)

1 Elenna Perry, Welwyn, Herts

2 Shannon Hallett, Basingstoke, Hampshire

3 Jordan Hopkins, South Sussex Barbarians, Sussex

4 Isobel Fox-Williamson, Baskingstoke, Hampshire

5 Hannah Murphy, Newmarket, Eastern Counties

8 Georgina Neary, Ayslesford, Kent (capt)

16 Rhiannon O'Kane, Medway, Kent

17 Emily Ferguson, Rochford Hundred, Essex

18 Jess Mead, Thurrock, Essex

19 Rebecca Wodhams, Medway, Kent

20 Phoebe Murray, Ellingham and Ringwood, Hampshire

21 Lizzie Dodd, Ellingham and Ringwood, Hampshire

22 Tamzin Luftig, Saracens, Essex.

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