Amelia MacDougall Interview: The Saracens emerging talent who is having a season to remember

After representing England at Under-20 level, Amelia MacDougall is hoping to continue contributing to Saracens' PWR push
©RFU Collection via JMP

Amelia MacDougall’s season began in the Allianz Cup back in September and she will be hoping that her campaign stretches into the summer.

Of course, her first target will be helping Saracens to a home Premiership Women’s Rugby semi-final before aiming for a spot in the final on June 22nd.

But beyond that, the announcement that England Under-20s will partake in the first Six Nations Women’s Summer Series in July might also be on the radar of the 19-year-old.

The Saracens back played an influential role in England Under-20s’ most recent block of fixtures against the Army as well as France and Wales.

Last weekend, the young Roses concluded with a 45-5 win over Wales and her time away with England isn’t lost on MacDougall.

“It's really important," MacDougall - who played at fly-half and inside centre - tells TRU. “Getting time at our age is such a key aspect of the game. 

"If you're not playing week in and week out, it's quite tough to develop your game because you're never going to fully get the pressures in training that you get in a game so having these fixtures for the Under-20s squad is really helpful for us.”

As mentioned, next for the Under-20s will be the Summer Series and clashes against Ireland, Wales and France in Parma.

The introduction of the Summer Series is just another sign of the growing opportunities being provided to the next generation of Red Roses, and MacDougall could be one of those who is waiting in the wings.

After making her PWR debut at the beginning of the season against Loughborough Lightning, she has featured on eight more occasions [in the league] for Alex Austerberry’s side.

Representing club and country is huge for any player, but you could argue it is even more special for MacDougall.

“It means a lot to me to play for Saries and England”, she explains. “Firstly with Saries, I've played there pretty much my whole life. It's my childhood club. I started playing amateurs when I was six and then I joined the academy when I was about 16.

“I went to Oaklands College and then joined the senior women this year which has been really special and nice. Then obviously, playing for your country is a really cool experience and an honour.”

Learning and developing with England and Saracens seems to be the perfect match for MacDougall as plenty of her club teammates were involved in the Red Roses securing yet another Six Nations title last month.

And the versatile back doesn’t take for granted how lucky she is to play alongside them: “Ella Wyras and Leanne [Infante] I see as role models as they both play inside me.

“Obviously, Zoe [Harrison] plays the same position as me and helps me with a lot of things. [Sarah McKenna], Sid [Syndey Gregson], [Sophie] Bridger are players that all give me confidence to play and help me make my own decisions which is really nice.”

The impact of the Red Roses winning their latest Grand Slam is paramount for the growth of women’s rugby, especially with next year’s World Cup on the horizon.

The work and investment being done to grow the game below international and PWR level continues while England’s displays on the pitch are only going to do wonders for the women’s game across the board.

“It's all going to be really important for the growth of the game,” MacDougall says. “It's already growing at a good pace but this Grand Slam win is just going to propel the women's game even more.

“Going into the World Cup in 2025, it's going to hopefully make that even bigger and hopefully it means more girls can start joining rugby teams and joining the pathway.”

MacDougall’s own early years began with Old Albanians - who she has actually played for this season in Women’s Championship South 1 - making her rise this term even more impressive.

Fast forward to last month where she played her role in Saracens defeating Bristol Bears 31-17 in the Allianz Cup final and everyone at the club will be hoping to add another trophy to their cabinet when the run-in to the PWR season begins this weekend.

Sarries (2nd) host Sale Sharks Women before two standout meetings with league leaders Gloucester-Hartpury and Exeter Chiefs (3rd), who are also hunting down that home semi-final.

MacDougall and co then conclude the regular campaign against Loughborough Lightning and after a season full of opportunity, the Saracens emerging star is relishing what might be ahead.

“Yeah, it's going to be tough [to win the PWR] and I think everyone at Sarries knows it's going to be tough. Obviously Gloucester, Exeter and Bristol are all fighting for semi-finals and home semi-finals, too.

“We know it’s not going to be easy but we're going to work hard as a home semi-final is what we want and what we really want. I've just got to help the squad out where I can and see what happens.”