Home comforts prove a blessing as former Welwyn Rugby Club star Ellena Perry enjoys ‘amazing’ England debut

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:00 10 November 2018

England and USA line up prior to the Quilter International match at Allianz Park, London. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA

England and USA line up prior to the Quilter International match at Allianz Park, London. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Familiar faces and surroundings helped Ellena Perry banish the nerves as she made her venue “amazing” England debut in the 57-5 victory over the USA.

The Welwyn Garden City-born prop also turned out for the town’s rugby club alongside the likes of Hannah Botterman and Zoe Harrison, both of whom were on the bench in the Allianz Park clash.

And when you throw the venue into the mix, home of her Saracens club side, there was plenty to make Perry feel at ease.

However, the 21-year-old still had to contend with the expected butterflies.

“I’ve been nervous all day,” she said with a laugh. “But the girls have all been looking after me and when I got out there all the nerves went.

“And once kick-off happened I just got on with the game.

“It was amazing to get out there with all girls and being at Allianz made it feel like more like home.

“I’ve really been made to feel welcome and it was a really good experience.”

Having started the match at a rain-sodden Allianz Park, she was eventually given a rest after 58 minutes but not before giving a good account of herself, something she was pleased with.

She said: “Scrums were good but there are still things to work on, maybe work on my bind to make it stronger.

“But I made a few carries and made a few tackles so I was still pleased with my performance.

“For a first cap it was alright and hopefully it’s the first of many.”

Perry’s inclusion continues the fantastic tradition Welwyn Rugby Club have of producing international class rugby players.

Aside from Perry, Botterman and Harrison, the Hobbs Way-based club have given a start in the game to England internationals Lotte Clapp, Sydney Gregson and Megan Williams of Ireland.

And Perry says that was a blessing on Friday night.

She said: “I was WGC-born and then I left Hertford to come to the girls’ section at Welwyn.

“We’ve all played with and against each other in mini rugby and then went to Welwyn and developed really well as we’ve gone through all the pathways together.

“So with all the girls from Welwyn and the Saracens girls’ it was good to be out there with people I knew.”

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