Lotte lands on the international rugby stage with England
Welwyn Garden City rugby star Lotte Clapp was delighted to make her senior England debut on Saturday.
While it was not to be a victorious start, England’s women were defeated 11-0 by France at Le Stade Francis Turcan, Martigues, for the 20-year-old Saracens and former Welwyn RFC winger, it will be a night she will never forget.
With parents Mick and Debbie cheering her on from the stand, in what was England’s first fixture of the autumn international series, Clapp grabbed her unexpected opportunity.
Speaking exclusively to the Welwyn Hatfield Times, the St Mary’s University student said: “It was really, really good to make my debut, it was a bit of a shock and I didn’t expect it.
“It was a bit scary, but having done all the run-throughs beforehand helped me to be more comfortable and we knew how we wanted to play and patterns of play.”
Having experience of representing England U20s and having trained with the senior side before, head coach Simon Middleton named Clapp in the squad and then as a surprise starter in the side, which also included World Cup 2014 winners Sarah Hunter, Rochelle Clarke, Ceri Large, Tamara Taylor, Laura Keates and Marlie Packer.
Keeping possession and not making mistakes were at the forefront of Clapp’s mind going into the clash.
“I did not want to drop the ball or anything and wanted to have a solid game,” she said.
“I did not get to attack too much because of the way the game went, I felt I did well in defence though and thought my debut went well.”
The former Sir Frederic Osborn School pupil featured in the national side alongside another ex-Welwyn RFC player in Hannah Gallagher, who she also plays with at Saracens.
“It was so nice having Hannah here, I’ve know her since the U15s,” she added.
“Welwyn RFC definitely helped me to get here, it was such a good club to play for.”
Reactions to her international call-up have flooded in from the region, “It’s been great, I’ve had so many messages saying well done, some from people I’ve not heard from for ages.
“A lot of them were able to watch the game too on the (BBC) red button.”
This week sees the squad prepare for Saturday’s second autumn international.
England host Ireland at Twickenham Stoop from 3pm.
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