- Flanker Carey captains Senior team against the North
- U18s led by Davey in double-header at Esher
London & South East have made four changes to the Seniors’ starting team to meet the North in their third and final round of Women’s Divisional matches, to be played at Esher RFC this Sunday (March 10).
Louise Meadows of Saracens and Middlesex comes into the team at fly half while there is a new front row of Catherine Pugh, Daniker Willimore and Ellisha Dee, and the captaincy passes to flanker Leah Carey of Saracens and Hertfordshire.
Both London & South East and the North are unbeaten in their two matches to date, and Alex Austerberry, who this year succeeded Maggie Alphonsi as London’s Divisional Talent Development Officer (DTDO), said: “It promises to be a fantastic day of rugby at Esher on Sunday.
“With both teams in fantastic form and players really staking a claim for nomination to the forthcoming England selection camp there are bragging rights at stake but more importantly, the opportunity to really impress with a good performance.
“The Women’s Divisional programme is designed to create environments like this. It will be unbelievably competitive on Sunday, there is pressure and the challenge to all the players to take the next step in their playing careers.
“Essentially it is not only a team battle, but individually the players are competing and driving one another to be better and develop. It is bound to be a great spectacle.”
Willimore of Wasps and Middlesex replaces captain Mercedes Foy to gain her first start of the programme, while Pugh makes her debut in the Senior Divisional programme in what will be a great test for the Saracens and Essex prop ahead of the match between England U20s and France U20s.
Other changes see Emily Coleman (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire) set to make her London Senior debut from the bench and Libby Povey (Richmond and Surrey) back in contention following injury.
“You are only ever as good as your next game, and with this being a development programme, we challenge the players to keep improving,” said Austerberry.
“Of course a win would be nice on Sunday, but as a coaching team we cannot stress enough that development is the key and we want the players to push on to the next level.
“If the players continue to raise their benchmark from match to match then we do not need to worry about the result as their performances will take care of that.”
Also at Esher on Sunday, the London & South East Under 18s are back in action against the North.
The starting team is made up of players from all but one county in the division, which illustrates the great work that is taking place in the clubs across the region.
“This work will have a great impact on the players at every level as week in week out, they will be playing against high quality opposition in tough fixtures,” said Austerberry.
“This will aid their development and better prepare them for the challenges they will face as they continue to move through the performance pathway.”
London & South East U18s’ head coach Simon Burgess has made 14 changes to the team that started against the South West in the previous match on February 17.
Maddie Lockwood, Hannah West, Caitlin Ward, Bryony Pomfret, Sue Nuemann and Georgia Bradley all move from the bench to the starting XV, while Lydia Davey takes on the captaincy role.
Burgess said: “It is an exciting time for rugby with all the events that are coming up, it is also an exciting time to be involved with this age group.
“There is a great deal of potential and depth to the talent coming through and this is why we have made the changes to the side.
“Last time out we played well and individually there were some great performances but we have an exciting crop of players and we want to see what they can do.”
London & South East Seniors to face North, Esher RFC, Sunday, March 10, 2.30pm
15 Georgia Peedle, Saracens, Middlesex
14 Ama Mayes, Saracens, Middlesex
13 Rochelle Smith, Saracens, EPS
12 Stacey White, Saracens, Middlesex
11 Holly Myers, Richmond, Surrey
10 Louise Meadows, Saracens, Middlesex
9 Rebecca Bushell, Saracens, Hertfordshire
1 Catherine Pugh, Saracens, Essex
2 Daniker Willimore, Wasps, Middlesex
3 Ellisha Dee, Richmond, Surrey
4 Ellie Gatlin, Saracens, Eastern Counties
5 Debbie McCormack, Richmond, Kent
6 Poppy Cleall, Saracens, Hertfordshire
7 Leah Carey, Saracens, Hertfordshire (capt)
8 Sam McCarthy, Richmond, Surrey
16 Laura Kapo, Richmond, Surrey
17 Emily Coleman, Old Albanians, Hertfordshire
18 Sian Kerrse, Richmond, Surrey
19 Claire Phelps, Thurrock, Eastern Counties
20 Libby Povey, Richmond, Surrey
21 Heike Niemand, Aylesford, Kent
22 Frankie Newby, Blackheath, Kent
London & South East U18s to face North, Esher RFC, Sunday, March 10, 12.30pm
15 Amy Dickinson, Hartpury, Hampshire
14 Caitlin Ward, Esher, Surrey
13 Rebecca Pritchard, Esher, Surrey
12 Ellie Ambridge, Aylesford, Kent (vice capt)
11 Rebecca Dickinson, Colchester, Eastern Counties
10 Jasmine Clarke, Worthing, Sussex
9 Bryony Pomfret, Welwyn, Hertfordshire
1 Georgia Bradley, Rochford, Essex
2 Hannah West, Basingstoke, Hampshire
3 Natasha McAneney, Aylesford, Kent
4 Florence Jones, Welwyn, Hertfordshire
5 Lydia Davey, Esher, Surrey (capt)
6 Harriet Dunn, South Sussex Barbarians, Sussex
7 Maddy Lockwood, Rochford, Essex
8 Sue Nuemann, Esher, Surrey
16 Ella Levey, Aylesford, Kent
17 Lydia Beard, Aylesford, Kent
18 Harriet Austin, Welwyn, Hertfordshire
19 Zoe Barber, Basingstoke, Hampshire
20 Serena Carter, Richmond, Surrey
21 Flo Williams, Aylesford, Kent
22 Sydney Gregson, Welwyn, Hertfordshire