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Five Bears named in England U20 squad to face Scotland

Bristol Bears Women will have five representatives in the England U20 squad for Saturday's clash with Scotland at Darlington Mowden Park’s Darlington Arena.

China Kill
Gabriella Nigrelli
Delaney Burns
Jenny Hesketh
Ella Lovibond

China Kill, Delaney Burns, Gabriella Nigrelli and Jenny Hesketh are all named in Amy Turner's starting XV, while Ella Lovibond is among the replacements for the first of a hat-trick of fixtures over the coming weeks.

After a number of camps and joint training sessions and match practice with the Black Ferns, South Africa and Wales earlier in the 2021/22 season, the young Red Roses are preparing for this age group’s first Test matches since July 2019. 

Amy Turner’s side host Scotland Futures at Darlington Mowden Park’s Darlington Arena (matchday squad below) on Saturday 19 March, KO 2pm. Exeter Chiefs flanker Maisy Allen captains the group while DMP Durham Sharks’ Holly Thorpe and Alana Bainbridge are set to feature at their home stadium.  

Entry to the game will be free of charge for all supporters.  

The U20s then travel to Evreux, Normandy to take on France U20s (Saturday 26 March, KO 5pm) before hosting Les Bleues at Henley Hawks RFC (Saturday 2 April, KO 2pm). Entry to the home match will also be free of charge for all supporters. 

The matches will showcase the next generation of international stars including a number of familiar names from across the Allianz Premier 15s and will provide players with vital development and Test match experience.  

Head coach Turner said: “It’s really important to have competitive fixtures so that the players understand what it means to be an international player at age grade level in terms of on pitch and off pitch management. 

“This group is relatively new and is learning fast and has real pride in representing the programme. The fact we’re now playing games is important for the next part of their development whether it’s into senior club rugby or into the senior England squad.  

“I’m pleased we have these three games because it’s been a long time since this age group’s last game 

“We’re all looking forward to the three games and seeing how the players fare. We’ve put them under lots of pressure this season with training games against arguably one of the best sides in the world in New Zealand and then in a senior context against South Africa. We then trained against Wales so we’ve definitely pressured their skillset and thought process. I can’t wait to see how we get on against Scotland Futures and then onto France away and at home.  

“We’ve looked at a large majority of players last season in internal games. Although we have this particular matchday 23, all of whom have earned their places, we’ve worked with around 40 U20s players over the last couple of years as well as 35 this season who have played and continue to play their part. This is a whole squad effort.” 

Head of performance pathways Don Barrell added: “These are three really exciting games for the U20s. 

“Amy (Turner), Laura McAndrew (team manager) and the wider staff group have worked tirelessly to prepare the squad on and off the field, not just ahead of the fixtures but throughout the season.  

“We have an array of talent in the pathway and these matches are a brilliant opportunity to showcase this and also a brilliant learning experience for the group.  

“I’d encourage everyone to come and support the team in Darlington and Henley to see the level skill, passion and quality that the players display. It’s a great to chance to see future Red Roses in action and to celebrate everything the players have been working on.” 

Matchday squad to face Scotland 

15. Abi Kershaw (Worcester Warriors) 
14. Holly Thorpe (DMP Durham Sharks) 
13. Georgina Tasker (Loughborough Lightning) 
12. Nancy McGillivray (Exeter Chiefs) 
11. Jenny Hesketh (Bristol Bears) 
10. Lizzie Duffy (Sale Sharks) 
9. Flo Robinson (Exeter Chiefs) 

1. China Kill (Bristol Bears) 
2. Alana Bainbridge (DMP Durham Sharks) 
3. Georgie Grimes (Exeter Chiefs) 
4. Jemima Moss (Worcester Warriors) 
5. Delaney Burns (Bristol Bears) 
6. Nikita Prothero (Loughborough Lightning) 
7. Maisy Allen (c; Exeter Chiefs) 
8. Gabriella Nigrelli (Bristol Bears) 
 
Finishers 

16. Kelsey Clifford (Saracens) 
17. Abby Middlebrooke (Exeter Chiefs) 
18. Beyonce Fowler (Loughborough Lightning) 
19. Daisy Hibbert-Jones (Sale Sharks) 
20. Megan Barwick (Bath) 
21. Tori Sellors (Gloucester-Hartpury) 
22. Ella Lovibond (Bristol Bears) 
23. Pip Hendy (Gloucester-Hartpury) 


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