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Thirteen Bristol Ladies Players Announced In England Elite Player Squad

Bristol Ladies players are among 29 players awarded the first ever 15-a-side professional contracts for the 2016/17 season. 

The 54-player squad is split into full-time, part-time, short-term and non-contracted players with 38 contracts awarded to date.

Team GB Olympians and Bristol Ladies' Danielle Waterman, Abbie Brown and Amy Wilson Hardy return to the 15s programme as England Women bid to retain the Women's World Cup which kicks off in Ireland in August 2017. Marlie Packer and Megan Jones also earn full-time contracts with Katie Mason on a part-time agreement. 

A further nine contracts have been awarded on a short-term basis, releasing players to come into residential camps ahead of major tournaments, including the Six Nations and the Women’s Rugby World Cup, to ensure the squad is well prepared. These have been awarded to Bristol's Sarah Hunter and Izzy Noel-Smith.

Up to 10 contracts remain within the EPS for players to stake a claim during the opening rounds of the Women’s Premiership which kicked off last weekend.

Bristol's Sarah Bern, Poppy Cleall and Poppy Leitch are among the new names in the 16-player wider EPS for this season. 

The EPS will prepare for three Old Mutual Wealth Series fixtures in November alongside an away game against Ireland, before the Six Nations championship and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in which England will seek qualification for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.

Both the full and part-time squads train at Bisham Abbey, with additional camps held in other training venues around the country. It is expected that some players will compete on both the 15s and sevens circuit.

The Old Mutual Wealth Series kicks off with England v France on Wednesday, November 9th (KO 7:30pm) followed by England v New Zealand on Saturday, November 19th (KO 12pm) both at The Twickenham Stoop before England v Canada on Saturday, November 26th (KO 5:05pm) at Twickenham Stadium. 

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