Danielle Waterman retires from international rugby

England full-back Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman has announced her retirement from Test rugby, bringing an end to an illustrious international career.

Waterman won eighty-two caps for her country and scored a record 47 tries, won a World Cup and countless Six Nations trophies, including the Grand Slam last year, and lost only one Six Nations game in her entire career.

But the statistics only tell half the story. Waterman was, quite simply, one of the greatest players ever to pull on the white shirt of England, either male or female. She was the complete player – fast and elusive with a lethal sidestep, and a ferocious tackler, but it was her attitude that endeared her to me. She was always one of the smaller players on the pitch, but she was probably the toughest. Every single time she took the ball into contact she would fight tooth and nail to stay on her feet, to keep moving forward. She was a nightmare to tackle, not just because she was so fleet-footed, but because she was so determined to keep going, no matter how many defenders were hanging onto her; she just would not give up.

“It has been an incredible journey and a true honour to be a Red Rose for the past 15 years,” said Waterman.

“Its been a huge privilege to have not only played alongside and against some of the best players in the world, but to have been part of the huge development and progression of women’s international rugby to date.”

Waterman has certainly done her bit for the development of the women’s game, and while I will miss watching her play for the Red Roses, I hope she has a long and happy retirement.

I wrote a piece analysing Waterman’s many skills last year – you can read it here.



WRWC: The Final Review – England v New Zealand

Two teams. Forty six players. Eighty minutes. One World Cup trophy. After nearly two weeks of scintillating women’s rugby, England and New Zealand emerged as the Rugby World Cup finalists, and as the two teams ran out on a clear Belfast evening, the stage was set for perhaps the greatest final yet.

Continue reading

WRWC: The Final

This is it – the World Cup final is tomorrow night, and the two best teams in the world will face off in what promises to be a spectacular display of rugby.

The Red Roses, the defending champions, against New Zealand, World Number 1s. Both teams dominated their pool groups, but while New Zealand had a fairly easy win against the USA in the semi-final, England had to work incredibly hard to overcome a tough French side. With those games only four days ago, fatigue is almost certain to play a role in the outcome of the final.

Continue reading

WRWC: England into World Cup Final after tough test against France

The Red Roses have reached the World Cup final after overcoming a strong French side 20 – 3.

On a wet evening in Belfast, the two Six Nations opponents traded early blows, but it was the French who got off to the best start, putting the Red Roses under immense pressure in their own half. However, the English defence held firm and kept France out.

Continue reading

WRWC: Red Roses beat spirited USA side to top Pool B

The Red Roses have booked their place in the World Cup semi-finals with a 47 – 26 win over the USA in their final pool match. Tries from McLean, Scarratt, Packer (2), Wilson Hardy and Cokayne, plus a penalty try, saw England safely through to the knock-out stages, but their opponents are also through after scoring a late bonus-point try.

Continue reading

England name team for Pool B decider against the USA

Red Roses coach Simon Middleton has made six changes to the side which beat Italy three days ago as England look to advance into the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Regular skipper Sarah Hunter returns to the starting line-up at Number 8, while Alex Matthews and Marlie Packer, who both had storming games against Italy, complete the back row.

Continue reading

WRWC: Red Roses score ten tries in big win over Italy

England scored another ten tries in their second World Cup pool match against Italy on Sunday afternoon, although a series of handling errors took the sheen off the win and left them with plenty to work on.

In fact they could have had two or three tries in the opening minutes, but knock-ons from Marlie Packer and Amy Wilson Hardy, both with the try-line in their sights, meant England came up with nothing to show for their early dominance.

Continue reading