How and why did you get into rugby?
Rugby was a massive part of my family, my dad, cousin and uncle played so my Granda used to take me to westoe to watch them play on a Saturday. I wanted to play as soon as I could, my Dad took me down to Westoe when I was about 5/6 and I played with the boys until I was 12 when you could no longer play mixed rugby. At that time there was no provision for girls to play rugby until you hit senior rugby at 16/17. I played hockey, netball, football, rounders until I got back into rugby at 16.
What motivates you on a daily basis?
I’m a really competitive person so I want to be the best, it’s as simple as that.
Rugby is a physical sport, how do you train? We know many females shy away from the weights but are they an essential part to your program?
It is, but that’s also the beauty of it!
Our training program’s are designed to make sure that are body can cope with the physical demands of the sport at an elite level. A typical week would involve 4 weights sessions split into 2 upper body and 2 lower body. A speed session, focusing on your specific area so for me acceleration over 10-30m. For the outside backs that would be longer distances like 50-100m. Probably 2 endurance sessions that again would be position dependent. Generally some kind of short time interval like 30 on 30 off with down ups, prowler pushing ect. Then club sessions and skills, for me goal kicking ect.
What’s your nutrition like?
I massively believe in balance, I play a contact sport and my body needs to be able to protect itself. There are times when building up to a tournament that my diet is a lot stricter and in camp meals are already designed by our nutritionist Mike Naylor. I eat a lot of protein so things like chicken, yogurt and eggs feature massively. I also eat lots of fruit and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, leeks, sweet potatoe, peppers, blueberries and raspberries. For snacks I try and eat nuts and dried fruit. But there will be times where I have malteasers and a pizza
Do you use sports supplements? If so, what and why?
We use them with England, I think if you eat right you really shouldn’t need them. I tend to use things like protein shakes after training because they are really convenient and its important to get the right nutrition after training hard. Occasionally caffeine tablets pre game but not regularly.
Top 3 favourite exercises?
I love jumping onto boxes over hurdles that kind of thing.
What tips do you have for young female rugby players trying to develop?
Work with good coaches, people who have your best interests at heart. I have been really lucky with the people that have helped me throughout my career had my best interests at heart. My strength and conditioning coach in Gateshead Julie Twaddle knows me really well so know when to push me and when to not. Also don’t just do things because people tell you, find out the whys.
Favourite pre-match music?
Not many people get the chance to represent their country on the world stage let alone captain their country. How did/does it feel being England captain and winning the world cup?
It’s a dream come true, I can remember being about 11-12 years old and thinking I want to be England captain I want and win a World Cup. Words cant do the feeling justice when I lifted that cup in France. It was absolutely amazing, pride, passion, relief just a massively overwhelming. The best bit was the group of people that I got to share it with, the players and staff were absolutely amazing and had worked so hard. I also got to share it with some of my family and best friends who can travelled over. Now its one of those things that every time I talk or thing about it makes me smile and beam with pride.
Any other tips or advice for our female or male viewers looking to progress their rugby career?
Listen to your body, if you are injured or tired what are you going to get out of doing a session. Take your rest and eat well it will help prolong your career.
Surround yourself with good, balanced people who care about you.
Don’t do anything that you aren’t proud of.