16th March 2018
Seven Wasps players are in contention to represent England at the Ricoh Arena.
Wasps players Tom Willis and Gaby Oghre – who have both made their first-team debuts for Wasps this season – have been included in England’s Under-20 elite player squad for the U20 Six Nations.
Wasps Ladies players Danielle Waterman, Justine Lucas, Amy Cokayne, Abigail Dow and Rochelle Clark have also been named in the England Women elite player squad for their Six Nations campaign.
Both sides begin their campaigns in Italy on Friday, February 2 and Sunday, February 4 respectively, before ending their campaigns at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, March 16 which will see England Women play Ireland Women at 5.30pm, before England U20s entertain Ireland U20s at 8pm.
Willis made his Aviva Premiership debut for Wasps at Saracens earlier this season after captaining England Under-18s last summer during their tour of South Africa, and the 19-year-old is looking to make it a hat-trick of achievements with England U20s.
He said: “Both myself and Gaby were waiting all of December for a decision, so we were really happy to get that call in early January to say we’d been included in the 32-man squad.
“The next target for myself is to make sure I am picked for that first game against Italy, making an impression and securing a win. I just have to take it one game at a time and, sooner or later, my opportunity will come.
“My older brother, Jack, won the World Cup with the England U20s a couple of years ago, so he’s been there and done it, and has been able to pass on some tips on how to deal with the pressure of performing at big tournaments.
“I’ve heard France is a really tough place to go – they get big crowds there so that will be a brilliant experience for the whole squad ahead of our final game at the Ricoh Arena.
“It would be a massive honour to be picked for that game on my home turf, particularly as I’ll have all of my friends and family there.”
Another player looking forward to adding more silverware to her glittering CV is England and Wasps Ladies full-back Danielle Waterman.
The former World Cup Winner and Olympic athlete is bidding to win her ninth Six Nations tournament, and her desire to lift her ninth Six Nations trophy at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, March 16 is as strong as ever.
The 32-year-old revealed: “I have never lost a Six Nations match and I want that record to remain intact.
“I absolutely love the opportunity to perform in the Six Nations, it’s such an iconic tournament in the northern hemisphere and across the world.
“The England Women team is at the start of a four-year World Cup cycle. There’s a number of experienced players to help blood in the younger girls around us, which has helped to raise the standard both with their enthusiasm and their skill level.
“People who haven’t watched women’s rugby before are always surprised at the speed and collisions – there isn’t as much kicking the ball out of hands as you see in the men’s game as we run the ball a lot more.
“The standard of the women’s game has grown hugely over the past five years, and alongside the men’s game at the Ricoh Arena, I hope it can help to inspire boys, girls, men and women to give rugby a go.”
Tickets for the Six Nations double-header between England and Ireland at the Ricoh Arena are just £10 for adults for both games, and can be purchased by clicking here.