England U20 experience was an eye-opener for Sydney Gregson

Sidney Gregson

Sidney Gregson - Credit: Archant

Welwyn RFC’s Sydney Gregson has taken one step closer to fulfilling her rugby ambitions with England this year – and she admits it’s been a baptism of fire.

The full-back started against France last month for her first England U20s Women’s cap, alongside Hartpury College teammates Abigail Brown, Emily Wood and Amy Wigley.

The 18-year-old was making the jump up to the older age group from the U18s for the first time – and admits she can still feel the blows.

However, Gregson insists it is a memory she will not forget – and intends on leaving her mark at the level before she progresses once again.

“It’s a massive step up,” she said. “The games are quicker and a lot more physical. For girls, the first year you can play internationals is 17 so I was in my first year of U20s this year.

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“I played my first international game against France and I’ve never played anything like it.

“It was so physical, there are things you could get away with at U18s that you just couldn’t there, like running through people, there’s always someone there to make a tackle.

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“It was an amazing feeling, the national anthem was the most memorable bit, I can’t explain it, it just amazing.

“I was a singer, I didn’t cry! Quite a few people did though after the game. Hopefully I will get to experience it again and again.”

Gregson is also on England 7s’ talent development squad and has one eye on future selection for the Olympic Games, as the sport makes its debut in Rio 2016.

“I’d like to stay with the England 7’s – 2016 might be a bit unrealistic but the 2020 Olympics is what I can aim for.

“And the senior rugby team as well,” she said.

“At the moment I think I prefer 15s because I’ve only just got into 7s. I’m still learning about it because it’s so different.”

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