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Vs Deputy Housemistress and Tudor maths teacher Harriet Millar-Mills, 25, has 34 England caps and plays No. 8 for Lichfield. Her storming two-try performance in England’s 32-0 win over Scotland in the opening Six Nations Championship match in 2016 deservedly brought Harriet the player of the match kudos – the first time she had achieved the accolade. She was then voted The Women’s Aviva Premiership Rugby ‘Player’s Player of the Season’.
Stockport-born Harriet was schooled at Bramhall High and Wilmslow Sixth Form College and began playing at Manchester RFC at full back before switching to the back row. She has also appeared for Chester and Sandbach under 18s before joining Lichfield in 2009.
Harriet studied Sports Technology at Loughborough University and has completed her PGCE to become a maths teacher. Harriet joined Tudor Hall in September 2016 and gave the following interview after the publication of the Daily Telegraph’s article identifying Harriet as one of the top 10 female rugby players to watch in the run up to the World Cup 2017:-
How old were you when you started playing rugby?
My younger brother played every Sunday at Manchester Rugby Club and I used to go down with my Dad and pass a ball around. One Sunday, one of the coaches asked me to join in and the rest was history.
What sports did you play as a child?
I was massively sporty playing football, netball, hockey, rounders, athletics in the summer and some tennis. In fact my advice to children would be to play as many sports as you can as you’ll never get bored in your spare time, it’s great to cross train and I have met some of my best friends through playing various sports.
When did you start taking rugby seriously?
I was selected to join the RFU’s national Talent Development Group when I was 15. My new training regime began to clash with my football training and I had to decide which took priority. Rugby won the toss and I progressed through the U18 and U20 Talent Development Groups playing No. 8 and Second Row in the U20s, aged 17, for three years.
How old were you when you started playing for England?
I played my first England game aged 20. I’ve been playing ever since and am really looking forward to the autumn internationals which kick off with a match against France at The Stoop (Harlequins ground) on 9 November at 19:30, Ireland at University College, Dublin, on 13 Nov at 14:00, New Zealand at The Stoop on 19 Nov at 12:00 and Canada at Twickenham on 26 Nov at 17:05.
When will you know you’ve made it into the final England World Cup Squad?
The current squad of 50 women will be whittled down to 32 in January and then 26 in July. I have a professional contract from January to August 2017 however, you’re never safe and have always got to be upping your game, technique and fitness to secure a place.
What do you think of the recent rebranding of the England women’s team to ‘The Red Roses’?
Given that the Tudor Hall log incorporates a rose, they couldn’t have chosen a more suitable name! On a more serious note, the more media attention that can be directed towards women’s rugby the better. The Red Roses campaign has certainly increased awareness of women in rugby and will hopefully encourage more girls and women to give the game a go.
Are you a competitive person?
I am a massively competitive person and hate to lose. When we play staff badminton in the Tudor Sports Hall on a Monday and Tuesday, I get so upset if I lose or mess up a point.
In light of the Olympians who have visited Tudor during Women’s Sport Week, if you had to choose an Olympic sport, what would it be and why?
It would have to be the Winter Olympics as a downhill skier as I love the feeling of speed, although I lack control.
To read the Telegraph article, visit: http://www.englandrugby.com/england/england-women/squads/harriet-millar-mills/