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Matthews relishes England debut opportunity

04 November 2011

  • Alex Matthews dreams of playing international rugby with older sister
  • 18-year-old ready to make the step up to senior rugby
Richmond flanker Alexandra Matthews, who will win her first England cap against France

Photo: RFU Archive

Richmond flanker Alexandra Matthews is set to make her England debut on Saturday when England take on France at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Chateaurenard, kick off 2pm GMT, and with a sister who has already been capped for England the 18-year-old is also hoping to make her move into senior international rugby a permanent one.

Matthews, who has been called up from the England U20 squad, has seen her older sister Francesca earn 19 caps for England on the wing and be involved in a handful of Six Nations winning campaigns. Alexandra has also tasted success with the England U20 but she is now hoping that Saturday’s match will mark a significant step up in her rugby career.

"When I found out that I had been given the chance to make my debut against France it was just such an amazing feeling and I was also very surprised," said the Roehampton Sports Psychology student.

"I have watched my sister achieve the amazing things she has for England and I have always wanted to have my chance to do the same and now I have got it.

"I will be nervous on Saturday but I think I will thrive on that. I know this is a really important opportunity for me and hopefully it is one step closer to me achieving my dream which is to play international rugby alongside my sister."

England Women perpare for the national anthem before facing France in the non-cap international in Marseille

Photo: Getty Images

Matthews got her first taste of senior international rugby on Wednesday in the uncapped friendly against France in Marseille. Although England lost 14-5 Matthews certainly caught the eye of England Head Coach Gary Street who has given her the only starting debut cap for this game.

"Wednesday’s game was a tough one against France," added Matthews. "It was hugely physical and the really wet weather conditions made it a very difficult game. I actually didn’t think I played too well but I guess I must have done something right.

"This time around I know the whole squad wants to put right the result. We do not want another defeat and we will be really up for going out there and putting on a strong England performance. We will have to go out a lot harder this time and knock them back. Hopefully the conditions will be drier and we can get some good ball out to our backs so they can show what they can do."