With the growth of the women and girls game in Kent and the South East, the RFU established the England Rugby South East Centre of Excellence based in Kent in July 2023. The centre is an integral part of assessing and developing U18 female players for progression on the England Rugby pathway.
On Sunday 12th November 2023, England Rugby South East Centre of Excellence faced their first match against England Rugby Saracens Centre of Excellence. The match hosted, by Dartford Valley RFC, was underway with a very supportive home crowd. The South East’s first match in a series of 4 saw Saracens more dominant in the early exchanges. The players from the South East grew into the match making it a competitive spectacle of girls rugby. Possession and territory ebbed and flowed throughout the first half, however, despite the stoic performance with moments of brilliance the South East went into half-time 0-12 down. With the pre-planned changes made to personnel the South East kicked off the 2nd half. The self-belief in the players continued to grow and they were unlucky not to score early on. The South East started to gain the upper hand at the breakdown but despite their efforts conceded 2 breakaway tries midway through the half. Their collective endeavour endured and finally a well-deserved try was scored and converted. The Final Score 7:24.
The players can be tremendously proud of their performance on the day, a huge stepping stone to their futures. During the last 4 months the players have worked hard on all facets of their game which has seen each of them develop whilst growing as a team. The game itself was a superb advert for girls representative rugby enjoyed by those watching on the day.
Thank you to the Kent Referee Society for arranging an all female team of 3, Tracy Pettingale in the middle ably supported by Chloe Cannon & Katie Gent.
A special thank you to our sponsor Specsavers Medway Stores for providing our matchday kit. Your support is truly appreciated.
The next match will be against Harlequins on Saturday 25th November, 5pm kick-off at Dartford Valley RFC. It would be wonderful to have a large crowd to support the players and team on the evening.