Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt, Head Coach of the Hartpury University women’s rugby team is one of 16 players named in the 42-strong England squad ahead of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations 2023. England head coach Simon Middleton confirmed the scrumhalf would make a return following her omission from the 2021 Rugby World Cup squad.
Asked how Hunt reacted when informed of her recall, Middleton said: “She was absolutely delighted. I had a chat with her, and she made it clear that she wanted to throw her hat into the ring for the 2025 World Cup and why wouldn’t you when she’s playing how she is.
“We pick on form and Mo is in the form of her life. It’s great to have her in the squad.”
Hunt will play alongside Emma Sing, a current BSc Bioveterinary Science student at Hartpury University as well as a host of former Hartpury students and Gloucester-Hartpury players. Maud Muir, a scrum coach at Hartpury and former Women’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year nominee is also named.
In addition, former World Rugby Player of the Year Zoe Aldcroft will join Sarah Beckett, Sarah Bern, May Campbell, Amy Cokayne, Alex Matthews, Connie Powell, Holly Aitchison, Tatyana Heard, Ellie Kildunne, Ellie Rugman, Sophie Bridger and Ella Wyrwas.
England will face Scotland this Saturday at Kingston Park in Newcastle. The Scottish team will include former Hartpury student Caity Mattinson, one of 11 players to have been awarded a professional contract by Scottish Rugby.
"There's a real buzz around (the Scotland) camp at the moment," said Mattinson, 26, who was capped by England in 2017 and 2018 before switching allegiances four years later.
For Wales, Cara Hope, Kelsey Jones, Cerys Hale, Gwen Crabb, Bethan Lewis, Lleucu George, Lisa Neumann, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Kerin Lake, Hannah Jones and Abbey Constable have all been named in the squad.
For Ireland, three Gloucester-Hartpury players have been named including Neve Jones, Sam Monaghan and Kathryn Buggy.
An action-packed weekend lies ahead, with Wales playing Ireland on Saturday and Italy playing France on Sunday.
Tom Radcliffe, Director of Elite Sport at Hartpury said: “Following some outstanding performances in the men’s Six Nations, we’re very much looking ahead to more of the same from these remarkable players.
“It’s good to see Mo taking up her rightful place in the England squad, but also exciting to see such a strong number of players from across the nations with a Hartpury connection. We’ll be watching and supporting them all in the weeks to come.”
As head coach of Hartpury University’s women’s rugby team, Mo Hunt has played a vital role in the development of women’s rugby at Hartpury and her squad is seeking a back-to-back National League Championship title after lifting the BUCS Women’s National League trophy recently. The team made the final after beating Cardiff Met on 24 March, so they’ll play Exeter in the final at the StoneX Stadium, home of the Saracens, on 19 April.
Hartpury’s well-established women’s rugby academies continue to provide a vital pathway for students to progress from Hartpury College to Hartpury University and potentially even on to Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC, playing in the Allianz Premier 15s. Each student athlete has an opportunity to combine their sporting passions with studying for a college or university-level qualification.
Access to leading facilities (including an anti-gravity treadmill, altitude chamber, high-tech 3D tracking cameras and high-resolution digital mirrors), world-class coaches and other support services is a proven pathway to elite sport as well as careers in coaching, nutrition, and management. Hartpury is home to a total of 10 competitive Sports Academies.