Marlie Packer

Plunging into the new season

After the excitement of Rio and with the Women's World Cup next year, it's time for Marlie to put on her boots and kick off the new season.

After an exciting few months, we are back into a new rugby season with the Women’s Rugby World Cup just kicked off. Everyone is still buzzing from the Olympic Games in Rio and with Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes bringing home their best ever medal hauls, sport is at an all-time high. For me it was a chance to become a fan and travel out to Rio to support the team with my family - I had forgotten how much fun it was! The atmosphere was electrifying out in Rio and the support for Team GB was incredible. It was one of the best family holidays I’ve ever had - Rio is such a beautiful place, it’s somewhere I will never forget.

My focus has shifted back to the 15-a-side format of the game, with the target of retaining the World Cup in Ireland next August. Over the summer I changed clubs, moving back to Bristol Ladies which has been a fantastic move for me, as I join many teammates with international honours and a team bond like no other. I believe this has led to our successful start to the season as we sit top of the Women’s Premiership and have the league’s only unbeaten record – five wins from five games. Personally, this has helped me get back into the 15s mindset, giving me the confidence and belief to reach the top of my game again. Also it has been a crucial move as I have been able to develop potential England back row combinations week in, week out, at club level.

With the Premiership in full swing, we had a week off at the beginning of October for international duty and it was England’s first get together as the new 2016/17 EPS squad. It was good to see old faces plus the addition of so many new and young ones, although that does make me feel old! The camp was both physically and mentally draining and put us through our paces with some contracts still up for grabs, and selection for the Old Mutual Wealth autumn International Series around the corner. Everyone had a point to prove and wanted to put their hand up.

During the weekend we were also introduced to our new identity… the Red Roses! The squad sat together to watch the Red Roses video and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and gave me butterflies in my stomach. We’ve never had anything like this before and it shows how much the women’s game is growing – I feel proud and privileged to say I have been a part of that. The video is based on a good friend of mine, Emily Scarratt who received a bit of banter following the video. She is England’s golden girl but she couldn’t be a more modest or down to earth. Yet she’s someone who younger players aspire to be like and a person who I have always looked up to, not just due to the fact that she’s tall!

The Autumn International Series is set to be the toughest and best yet with the backing of Old Mutual Wealth, which is fantastic for us, and the best teams in the world are coming to our home patch to play. You have to beat the best to be the best! Keep an eye out for these dates:

  • Ireland vs. England Sunday 13th November 2:00pm @ University College, Dublin

  • England vs. New Zealand Saturday 19th November 12:00pm @ Twickenham Stoop

  • England vs. Canada Saturday 26th November 5:05pm @ Twickenham Stadium (following the England vs. Argentina match)

If you want to come along and support us, you can get tickets from the Quins website.