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Army Women Rugby Players selected for England Academy

Three members of the Army Rugby Union Women’s team have been selected for the England Academy Squad after attending the recent trials. Captain Gemma Rowland (RA), Sergeant Rosie Haigh (REME) and Corporal Bianca Dawson (AGC (RMP)) have all been selected for the England (Academy London and South East) Squad.

This is a fantastic achievement for these players and demonstrates the amount of hard work, and determination they have to succeed at the highest levels of the sport. This achievement is made more remarkable, when all three of the players have had to forgo previous seasons away from the game to fulfil their duties on Operational Tours. Captain Gemma Rowland recently returned from Operation HERRICK 17 and Sergeant Rosie Haigh from Operation HERRICK 18. All three have very demanding jobs but still manage to make time to maintain the highest fitness levels, rugby skill sets and play in the Premiership.

The Army Rugby Union Women’s squad has seen many successes in the past; with the current team captain Corporal Jane Leonard RE having been capped at International level 9 times for England in 15s and 20 times for England 7s. With the vast amount of experience in the current Army squad and the influx of new players coming through the Corps, women’s rugby can only grow within the services and hopefully in time we will have more players representing the Army at the International level.



Captain Gemma Rowland first started playing rugby when she was 15 years old, first playing 7s rugby and then her first ever 15s game was at the U20s England Trials. She played at Exeter University for three years until her graduation. Gemma was forced to take a year out of Rugby to attend Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Gemma’s rugby career has blossomed, and she is now a regular player for the Army, the Combined Services and her Premiership club London Wasps. Gemma enjoys returning to her 7s roots and will often be seen representing the charity 7s team, The Moody Cows through the summer months.



Sergeant Rosie Haigh started playing rugby in 2008 while she was attending her Phase 2 training. Rosie’s rugby skills have rapidly developed and she now has huge amounts of experience, which she has used to great effect captaining the Combined Services Squad in 2010. Rosie recently started playing for London Wasps in her preferred position of second row.



Corporal Bianca (Bee) Dawson first played rugby when she was 15. Sadly she stopped due to a background in and talent for Association Football. Many years on Bee Dawson finally saw the light and in 2011 played her first season for the AGC and the Army team. Over a short period of time Bee has developed dramatically as a player and is a natural with ball in, hand regularly crashing through waves of opposition. Even though she is a prop, Bee is of the new breed and has often been seen sprinting up the wing from her own 22 to score a try. Bee has a huge amount of potential and now that she is playing for Wasps first team, she will be the one to watch out for in the future.

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