England Women announce 28 players with full-time contracts for 2019/20 season

England Women head coach Simon Middleton
England Women head coach Simon Middleton

The Rugby Football Union has unveiled 28-member full-time contracted players of England Women's XV for the 2019/20 season.

Bristol Bears’ Amber Reed will form part of the squad along with Saracens’ Bryony Cleall, Wasps scrum-half Claudia McDonald and Scott's Harlequins team-mate Emily Scott.

“The quality of the players within the Tyrrells Premier 15s has meant the competition for contracts has and will continue to increase which will only be a positive as we continue our long-term build-up to the 2021 World Cup. The league keeps throwing up new talent," said England Women's head coach Simon Middleton.

“We looked at the squad before we went out to San Diego in the summer and knew some of the players who were going to be awarded contracts this season. We also looked at some players who we thought probably needed to make a statement in San Diego.

“A couple of players were unable to make the trip. Bryony Cleall was ruled out through injury but we believe she’s got the potential and the playing characteristics that can bring a point of difference to the group. We are giving her an opportunity but as with all the players, it’s now down to her to take it.

“Other players, such as Claudia MacDonald went out to San Diego and had a great tournament. She’s learning her trade as a scrum half but can also play on the wing as she did against New Zealand where she had a strong game."

Meanwhile, RFU head of women’s performance Nicky Ponsford stated that fulltime contract has benefitted the women's game.

“As we’ve seen since January, full-time contracts help to ensure we have access to players to develop them and allow them to fulfil their potential.

“Our preparations for the 2021 World Cup are firmly under way and we have a big season ahead of us.

“We’re delighted with the ongoing collaboration between ourselves and the Tyrrells Premier 15s clubs, and we look forward to continuing this work and developing our national team and domestic league throughout the season.”