The Army Women’s team will come up against a strong England Under-20s side packed with Hartpury talent tonight (7pm kick-off at Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium) as players with ties to the college make up half of the squad.
Former A-level student Millie Wood will captain a side which contains six other starting players who have begun their journey at Hartpury. A-level graduates Lucy Nye – who starts at scrum half – and number eight Zoe Aldcroft have been picked in Jo Yapp’s side.
Current students Zoe Harrison, 17 – who has been given special dispensation by the RFU to play in this game – as well as Ellena Perry, 18, Molly Morrissey, 19, and Kelly Smith, 20, complete the seven in the starting line-up.
Prop Perry, a current A-level student, recently starred for Saracens in the first ever Women’s Premiership Final and will now line up in the front row against the Army.
While Harrison and Perry are part of the college’s successful AASE side, Sports Business Management degree student Morrissey and Physical Education and School Sport degree student Smith currently star for Hartpury’s British University and Colleges Sport side.
There are five more players with Hartpury ties who will be looking to make their mark off the bench as the 24-woman squad all compete for places ahead of the team’s trip to play France next month.
Current student Holly Aitchison is joined by graduates Jessie Hood, May Campbell, Jade Shekells and Anna Wolf on the bench as girls with Hartpury ties make up 12 of the 24 in the squad.
Those on show today will also be hoping to emulate the rise through the rugby ranks experienced by former students, Sydney Gregson, Megan Jones and Abbie Brown, who went on to represent England at senior level after being part of the women’s rugby set-up at Hartpury.
Hartpury College’s women’s rugby coach, LJ Adams said: “It’s great to see the college continuing its tradition or producing international players and to have half the players in the squad just goes to show the strength of the programme on offer here at Hartpury. We continue to support talented players to grow and develop and it’s great to see so many of them rewarded with the chance to play at the highest levels in their sport. All the girls – both current and former – have worked and continue to work extremely hard to improve and we wish them all the best this evening and looking ahead to the France games, which we’ll be keeping a close eye on.”