Sophie Hopkins, the captain of the Watford-based Fullerians U18 team and a student at St Helen’s School, has been selected to play for the England Women’s Under 18 rugby team.
Sophie impressed at a three-day training camp in February, leading to her selection for the national squad and debut in the recent match against Wales on March 5.
Despite a nervous start, Sophie’s strong defensive work on the right touchline and an excellent long pass that led to England scoring in the left-hand corner helped the team win 48-5. The match marked England’s first game of the 2023 season and was played at Rugby School to celebrate 200 years since the birth of rugby.
Sophie is part of the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, which supports nearly 500 elite athletes aged 16 and over across almost 40 sports. She was selected for the 23-player match day squad after a three-day training camp at Lilleshall National Sports Centre, where all participants demonstrated their commitment to representing England.
James Cooper, the England head coach, praised the strength of the matchday squad “Playing in the 200-year anniversary match against Wales will be very special for all involved and something the players will remember for years to come. I urge them to keep that in mind when they run out onto the pitch.
“Congratulations to the 23 players selected and thank you to the Centres of Excellence, clubs and colleges, coaches, parents and guardians who helped them get to this point.”
The player pathway programme, which includes the women’s U18 team, is a vital development tool for the future of international rugby and the growth of the women’s game ahead of the 2025 Rugby World Cup.
The match was live-streamed on England Rugby channels, and tickets were available through the Eventbrite app. The two teams will meet again at a Six Nations tournament at Wellington College in April.