Derry/Kilkenny links on English World Cup team

Natash  Brennan

by Sean Moriarty

As we celebrate the success of the Irish Women’s Rugby team there will pockets of counties Kilkenny and Derry keeping an eye on the progress of their English counterparts, especially with Wednesday night’s tantalising semi-final clash between Ireland and England.

Late last week Richmond wing Natasha Brennan joined the English squad in France after Worcester’s Lydia Thompson was forced to withdraw from the squad because of a groin injury.

England Head Coach Gary Street explained: “Natasha has been part of our World Cup training squad and she missed out by the narrowest of margins when it came to final selection. We are really excited by what Natasha can bring after a fantastic Sevens series last season, where she finished as England’s top try scorer.”

Brennan’s father hails from Kilkenny but has been living in Kent from a young age. Her mother is from Derry and she has relations in Cootehill in County Cavan too.

She told The Irish World: “It is amazing to get the call up and was really unexpected. I feel for poor Lydia.  I have always thought myself as English even though I have massive Irish heritage,

Brennan joins the England squad with two caps under her belt in. The Twickenham based winger  made her debut against Wales in this year’s Six Nations and scored a try on her debut. The 27-year-old is also a regular on the Sevens World Series having amassed 12 caps and scored 16 tries this season but she started her international career as a hockey player.

“I was an England international [hockey player] from the age of 13 or 14 right up until I was 22.  At University many of my friends were playing rugby and invited me to do some extra training and I just fell in love with the sport.

Off the sports field, you’ll find the 2010 Kent Sports person of the year in Wimbledon working for Betting Appointments. She got there via St Joseph’s Convent in her home town of Gravesend and went on to Rochester Grammar School for Girls before completing a BA in English and American Literature at university.

Older sister Tara also plays the game and her two brothers love their sport too. Dominic appeared for Charlton Youth Academy at football and oldest brother Kelvin is a former boxer.


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