England Women U20 head coach Jo Yapp today announced a 28 player squad for the 2017/18 season which includes Loughborough Lightning players Leah Bartlett and Amelia Harper.
Both Bartlett and Harper combine their studies with their training at Loughborough University and have more recently been impressing coaches and fans in Lightning’s inaugural season in the Tyrrells Premier 15s competition.
Leah Bartlett has been a regular feature in Lightning’s starting squad this season, and has used the chance to play alongside some seasoned players to really step up her game. The young hooker’s selection comes as no surprise after a successful season with the squad in 2016/17.
“I am really excited to be given the opportunity to be involved in the England set up this year. With the support that I am receiving from Loughborough and the additional training camps with England, I am hoping to see my game progress to the next level”
Amelia Harper also juggles her course at Loughborough College with her training schedule and at just seventeen years old is one of the youngest players named in the side.
“I am really excited to be selected in the squad for this season. I’m looking forward to improving my game throughout the year and bringing what I learn back to Lightning. I’m hoping this selection gives me the chance to really show everyone what I can do.”
The U20 squad will come together for a series of camps throughout the season as they prepare to take on the Army and France in away and home fixtures in 2018. Of the 28 players selected, 15 feature for a second season at U20 level with 13 new players named as part of the squad.
Nine of the 13 newly selected players; Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo Ladies), Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women), Abigail Burton (Gloucester-Hartpury), Tabitha Copson (Gloucester-Hartpury), Amelia Harper (Loughborough Lightning), Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury), Victoria Laflin (Worcester Valkyries), Pheobe Murray (Bristol Ladies) and Helena Rowland (Saracens Women) have progressed through the player pathway from last season’s U18 Talent Development Group.
England Women U20 Head Coach Jo Yapp said:
“It’s great to see so many players continuing to develop and progress through the pathway from last season’s U18 Talent Development Group to U20s level.
“The quality of rugby once again at this season’s trials was of a really high standard. We are now looking forward to bringing this new group of talented players together and continue to build and work on developing all areas of their game, both on and off the pitch.
“We have seen players move from U20s and go onto represent England at the highest level. It’s testament to the success of the pathway to see players continuing their careers in rugby and earning international honours. I have no doubt that this group of players have the promise and talent to be future Red Roses.”
Many players have used this level of play as a stepping stone into the England Senior squad with five of last year’s team progressing on to receive their first cap.
Lightning Head Coach, Rhys Edwards was keen to share his pride in the girl’s selections;
“It’s great to have our young players rewarded with selection into the U20s Squad for this season. Leah in particular has been a consistent performer for us in the Tyrrells Premier 15s having earned her position at the start. Amelia is an exciting prospect, and someone with a bright future, she has made significant impacts when she has had the opportunity to play from the bench. It is going to be an excellent learning/development experience for both at this level.”
Make sure you catch the girls in action in one of their upcoming games.
England Women U20 games 2017-2018
- 14th February – England Women U20 v Army, KO TBC
- 24th February – England Women U20 v France (away), KO TBC
- 17th March – England Women U20 v France (home), KO TBC