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England dominate Women’s Team of the Decade selection

England dominate Women’s Team of the Decade selection

No fewer than eight England players have been selected in the Women’s 15s Team of the Decade at the World Rugby Awards after a worldwide vote to select the winners.

In a ten-year spell that saw five Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam victories, as well as lifting the trophy at the 2014 World Cup, it has been a memorable time for everybody associated with the Red Roses, as they go from strength to strength on the pitch.

2010 and 2017 Women’s World Cup winners New Zealand have six players selected in the XV, while French No.8 Safi N’Diaye is the only representative of any other country to be chosen in the poll.

There was no place for Women’s Player of the Decade Jessy Tremouliere in the side, with England fullback Danielle Waterman being preferred at No.15, with the former Wasps star rewarded for her all-action displays in the back row since 2010.

Waterman helped herself to five tries in England’s 2011 Women’s Six Nations success and four more in 2017, matching the total scored by fellow inductee Lydia Thompson on the wing.

It is no surprise to see the duo of Emily Scarratt and Katy Daley-McLean involved in the XV, with the pair so often involved in everything that England do right on the field, leading their compatriots to victory after victory.

Both have finished as top points scorer in the Women’s Six Nations twice in the past decade, with Scarratt topping the charts in 2017 and 2012, while Daly-McLean claimed the spoils in 2011 and 2019.

“It’s super special to be recognised in that way,” Scarratt said. “To be put in a team with some of the names that are in that team is pretty cool.”

England’s record international appearance holder Rochelle Clark was chosen as prop in the all-star line-up, with the Red Roses stalwart epitomising her country’s powerful and combative game up front since 2010, alongside fellow forward Sophie Hemming.

The destructive duo struck fear into many a defence when they lined up together, with the English pack forcing many a side to crumble, both in the Women’s Six Nations and on the global stage.

2014 World Cup winning captain Tamara Taylor deservedly takes her place at No.5 among the recent greats of the game, with the Red Roses stalwart leading the side during the most dominant time in their history.

The final English selection was Maggie Alphonsi, who was also co-hosting the virtual event on Monday, with the flanker rewarded for an illustrious international career.

Alphonsi scored a competition-high five tries in England’s 2011 success, and was part of the side in 2012 that secured a record seventh successive Women’s Six Nations title, as well as being named Sunday Times Sportswoman in the Year in 2010.

French veteran N’Diaye also made the team at No.8, which is due reward for a glittering decade in which she played a part in all three of her country’s Women’s Six Nations victories, including Grand Slams in 2014 and 2018.

The Montpellier star has also dazzled on the domestic stage, with six Elite Feminine 1 titles to her name in the past seven years, with her influence as strong as ever for both club and country.

Portia Woodman was among the New Zealand stars to be selected in the XV, with the 2017 World Cup winner selected on the wing, while compatriot Kendra Cocksedge was chosen at scrum-half.

Kelly Brazier lines up at centre, while the powerful Fiao’o Faamausili and Eloise Blackwell were selected in the forwards, with Linda Itunu the final selection in the side.

Women’s 15s Team of the Decade in association with Mastercard: 

Danielle Waterman (ENG); Lydia Thompson (ENG), Emily Scarratt (ENG), Kelly Brazier (NZL), Portia Woodman (NZL); Katy Daley-Mclean (ENG), Kendra Cocksedge (NZL); Rochelle Clark (ENG), Fiao’o Faamausili (NZL), Sophie Hemming (ENG), Eloise Blackwell (NZL), Tamara Taylor (ENG), Linda Itunu (NZL), Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), Safi N’Diaye (FRA).