Scarborough RUFC teenager Steph Else shines for England U18s in inaugural Six Nations Festival

Scarborough RUFC’s Steph Else has become part of women’s rugby history after playing for England at the inaugural Six Nations Under-18s Women’s Festival.

Steph Else lines up at Scarborough RUFC in her England shirt
Steph Else lines up at Scarborough RUFC in her England shirt

Scarborough RUFC’s Steph Else has become part of women’s rugby history after playing for England at the inaugural Six Nations Under-18s Women’s Festival.

The festival which took place at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh adjacent to the BT Murrayfield Stadium, ran across two days, and represented a major step forward for women’s rugby in Europe and provided an important platform for the rising stars of the women’s game.

Else said, “The whole festival experience was a different level to anything I have experienced before with college or Scarborough.

“Everything was professionally organised with specialist medical teams including our own team doctors.

“The stadium facilities and atmosphere was just fantastic with flags, banners and posters advertising the event.

“There was an unforgettable England shirt presentation event and we all received a great stash of England kit some of which I was able to swap with other countries players.

“When we arrived for the matches our full kit was laid out with our names printed out above it.

Steph Else lines up with her England U18s teammates

“Everyone was so supportive particularly my mum and dad who drove up to Edinburgh to watch on both days.”

Women’s rugby coach at Scarborough RUFC Jason Lowde said, “What a fantastic achievement by Steph, she was selfless in her work-rate and often doing the work of two allowing others to influence the games.

“She should be very proud of herself as we are all very proud of her, testimony to the dedication and hard work she has put in over many years since first playing Mini Rugby at Scarborough RUFC.

“Unbelievable to think that there are two players wearing England shirts that started their rugby journeys with us at Silver Royd. Both are role models and inspirations to all young girls who participate in sport. We wish her all the very best and look forward to seeing her representing her country again soon.”

Steph Else lines up at Scarborough RUFC in her England shirt

Else, who lives at Staintondale and is a student at Bishop Burton College near Beverley, was the first girl to sign up for the newly formed Girls Section at Scarborough RUFC after first playing at the old Showground at Newby aged four in the mixed Mini Rugby teams alongside brothers Tristan and Sam under the supervision of coach Steve Purdy.

Else currently plays for her college as well as Scarborough U18s, Scarborough Valkyries and Scarborough Mixed Touch Rugby.

Her next target is to be selected for the Yorkshire Senior Ladies side for the forthcoming three match County Championship series starting in May. She has already been offered the opportunity to enrol on a Sports Coaching Degree Course at Hartpury University, allowing her to link up with Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s Rugby Academy which could lead to her playing in the Allianz Premier 15s alongside England’s Red Rose Zoe Aldcroft.

In the Festival, England took on Ireland and France on the Saturday in two 35-minute matches, before facing France in a 70-minute contest on the Wednesday.

In the opening match Else was selected at blind side flanker helping her side to a 17-12 victory, including one impressive line break where she broke clear on the halfway line and was held up just two metres short of the tryline.

Later in the day Else was switched to number 8 for the much tougher challenge of France. In a tight first 20 minutes England were hanging on to the lead but France came back strongly to win 29-7.

On Wednesday Else again was selected to start at number 8 against France for their full 70 minute match.

As with the earlier short game the scoreline was close in the first half but the powerful French forwards dominated a tiring England in the second half to win 72-10.

Over the three matches Else was one of only a few players who played every minute and put in very credible performances.