Hartpury’s most recent women’s rugby success story Ellie Kildunne will carry on her meteoric rise when she makes her first Six Nations start for England Women this weekend.
Kildunne, 18, will start at full-back for the Red Roses when they face Italy in their Six Nations opener. The current A Level student will line up alongside her Gloucester-Hartpury teammate, Sarah Bern – who starts in the front row. Bern is another Hartpury College graduate and is currently studying for a BSc Strength and Conditioning degree at University Centre Hartpury.
The Hartpury duo will be joined by one of England’s most experienced players in Danielle Waterman. The former Hartpury member of staff will make her 78th appearance for England Women, lining up on the wing.
Former students Zoe Harrison, Amy Cokayne and Caity Mattinson complete the Hartpury contingent included in Simon Middleton’s team. The trio will all start on the bench for the game at Stadio Mirabello in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Kick-off is 5.30pm and the game is live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix.
England are not the only team in the competition to feature players with ties to Hartpury. Wales, who kick off their campaign at home to Scotland Women on Friday evening, have selected current students Beth Lewis and Rebecca De Filippo, as well as Gloucester-Hartpury player Cerys Hale. Lewis and De Filippo line up in the back row and at centre respectively, while Hale will start on the bench for Rowland Phillips’ side.
19-year-old A Level graduate, Bianca Coltellini, could also find herself involved in the England game, but for opponents Italy. Coltellini is part of the Azzurre squad for the Six Nations but they are yet to announce their team.
In the men’s competition, Hartpury also have a strong contingent set to feature. University Centre graduate and current Leicester Tigers player Jonny May will start on the wing for England when they take on Italy in Rome’s Stadio Olympico. Wales are yet to announce their team for their curtain raiser with Scotland on Saturday, but former students Ross Moriarty and Alex Cuthbert are both part of Warren Gatland’s squad.
Benetton Treviso’s new recruit Sebastian Negri has also been selected to start at flanker for Italy against England. Last year’s British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Super Rugby and BUCS National Championship-winning Hartpury captain will earn his third cap for the Azzurri.