Delight for Botterman after ‘whirlwind’ England debut

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:18 24 November 2017

England line up for the national anthem before the first test of the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Allianz Park. Picture: PAUL HARDING/PA

England line up for the national anthem before the first test of the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Allianz Park. Picture: PAUL HARDING/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

A former Datchworth and Welwyn rugby player has described her call-up and subsequent debut for England as “a whirlwind that still hasn’t sunk in”.

England's Zoe Harrison during the Old Mutual Wealth Series match at Twickenham Stoop. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA WIRE England's Zoe Harrison during the Old Mutual Wealth Series match at Twickenham Stoop. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA WIRE

Hannah Botterman started her career at the village side before moving onto Welwyn and then Saracens.

And she was joined on the bench for Friday’s first test with Canada at Allianz Park by another former Welwyn junior in Zoe Harrison.

She was the first on for her first cap just past the hour, with Botterman getting the nod just a few minutes later.

The day was topped off by the superb 79-5 win, with fellow debutant Jess Breach bagging six tries on her debut.

“It was great to get on,” laughed Botterman. “I didn’t think I was going to at one point.

“But I got a good 15 minutes and it was a great game. The like of Jess Breach and all the new caps did really well so it was a really good game to be involved in.

“It was always going to be easier [with the score as it was] as there is less pressure.

“But you still have that pressure to perform. I’m filling big boots with the likes of Sarah Bern and Justine Lucas being injured so I had to come in and make my impact, whether the scoreboard was high or low.”

Botterman was called into the squad earlier in the week after originally being selected in the U20 team.

“It’s all happened so quickly,” she admitted. “But my aunty played for England so she was pretty happy but my whole family is a very big rugby family and so it’s great that we’ve been involved in this whole experience.

“Without the Tyrell’s Premiership I wouldn’t be here.

“I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and my head coach Alex Austerberry has been amazing.”

Speaking after the game head coach Simon Middleton said: “I’m thrilled really as we wanted to get some certain things out of the game and we got them tonight.

“I’m really pleased for them as right across the board all the girls played well tonight and everybody who came on for their debut did a great job.”

And it got way better in Tuesday’s second test for both Botterman and Harrison.

The pair got their second cap coming off the bench again with Harrison ,who had kicked two conversions in Friday’s win, added another two points.

But Botterman crossed for one of the eight tries in the 49-12 win in the second half.

Another former Welwyn girl, Charlotte Clapp, made her first England appearance for 16 months on Tuesday.

Harrison is back on the bench for tomorrow’s final test (Saturday) at Twickenham.

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