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Appleby delighted with Gloucester-Hartpury involvement in Six Nations

Appleby delighted with Gloucester-Hartpury involvement in Six Nations
Gloucester-Hartpury players will be on Six Nations duty this weekend for England, Scotland and Wales and Head Coach Susie Appleby is looking forward to seeing all the players do themselves justice on the international stage.

The biggest representation is in the England squad where three players are named in the matchday 23 to take on Ireland. But Appleby’s first thoughts were for a fourth player, the Gloucester-Rugby captain Zoe Aldcroft who has been ruled out by injury.

“It’s dreadful timing for Zoe, having bounced back so well after missing last season. Her performances have been brilliant for us so far this season and it’s a cruel blow for her to pick up an injury now.

“However, thinking long term, it’s good that she’s contracted now and can take her time with her rehab and be looked after by the RFU medical team. Hopefully, she’ll be back as soon as possible with a World Cup just around the corner. That’s the bigger picture for her.”

Set for her Six Nations bow on Friday though is centre Tatyana Heard, and Appleby believes she’ll bring a powerful presence to the team.

“She brings a really powerful game to the team, and it says a lot about how far she’s come that she’s been picked ahead of Rachael Burford. She’s a great player, getting better and better but also brings that power element and with Emily Scarratt and Katy Daley-Mclean on either side of her, they’ll be the playmakers and will be an exciting combination.

“This will be great for her confidence, as a young player in her first Six Nations. She’ll be over the moon.”

Meanwhile, Kelly Smith has been on fire at club level and Appleby hopes that she’ll maintain her recent rich vein of form.

“I think Ireland was her only Six Nations appearance last year, and she was very nervous that day and didn’t really play as she is capable of.

“But, she’s the top scorer in the Tyrrells Premier 15s this season and has been in a really confident vein of form. She’s now taking that confidence into the Six Nations and that’s very exciting. Who knows what she can do, especially playing in that back line.

And, finally from an England perspective, Mo Hunt is named amongst the replacements.

“Mo’s just been fantastic. She came back into the league just before Christmas, and obviously hasn’t played 15s for a long time. But she’s settled in really quickly and can impact massively upon a game.

“Whenever she features against Ireland, she’ll bring that experience which will be really, really crucial. I’m sure she’ll get some decent time on the field and will be looking to show that she’s worthy of a start against France.

“She’s excited to be involved again, to be taking part in the Six Nations and trying to play her part in helping this team to move forwards towards the World Cup.

Changing the focus to Scotland, Katie Dougan is named amongst the replacements. It’s her first season in Gloucester-Hartpury colours, and she’s worked hard and made huge improvements according to her club coach.

“It’s always hard to come into a club where you don’t know anyone, and she joined us off the back of a season in Canada.

“I think she’s really grown into the season and every game she gets better. Probably the turning point for was the Wasps game where she actually started on the bench, and she reacted really well to that and has improved week on week.

“I’m really pleased for her, she thoroughly deserves it. She’s worked so hard at her club. Shade (Munro) is a really good guy and is confident in her ability and knows that there is more to come from her.

And, finally, onto Wales.

“I haven’t seen the Wales team yet, but I think that Hannah Jones and Bethan Lewis may well start with Kelsey Jones and Cerys Hales amongst the replacements. They start off in Montpellier against France which is tough but incredibly exciting.

“So, that’s another four, which makes eight internationals this weekend, which is amazing for the club and reflects the way we’re playing and the direction we're heading in. And for people like Kels and Tat, who have been playing so well for us, international recognition has followed. It’s all been so positive.”
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Kingsholm Stadium
Gloucester Rugby
Fri 2 Sep
KO 19:45
Cardiff Blues
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