FORMER Keighley RUFC junior Ellie Kildunne admits she was "amazed" at receiving her first senior England call-up.

The 18-year-old is among seven uncapped names in Simon Middleton's 28-player squad that will take on Canada next month in the three-match Old Mutual Wealth Test series.

And with plenty of competition in the ranks of this year's World Cup finalists, the Gloucester-Hartpury back says she didn't expect to be included.

"I was a bit surprised by it because there's a lot of senior players who could have got the call-up," Kildunne said.

"I've played a lot of sevens rugby, but not a lot of '15s', so it was quite a surprise for me.

"Without being able to play for Gloucester, I don't think the England coaches would have been able to see how I play, first at a senior standard or at 15s at all.

"Without the Tyrells Premiership they wouldn't be able to compare me to other players and see if they could put me in the team.

"I'd just come back from camp when I found out," she recalled.

"I was at home by myself and my coach called me up as I was doing my work. I was amazed.

"My family were really pleased for me, they're very proud. I had to phone my mum and dad because they were both at work. They're both really happy for me."

Kildunne learned to play union at Keighley and, having overseen her development since under-9s level, director of rugby Russell Gibson expressed his delight on behalf of the club.

"Everyone at Keighley is exceptionally proud of what she has achieved," he said.

"She's developed very well and at a very early age got involved at the top level.

"Ellie's worked very hard to get to where she is now, as well as having natural talent.

"She's always had good pace and the confidence to back herself, even against the boys. She always stood out as a junior against the boys."

Kildunne's national call-up follows fellow former Keighley junior James Whitcombe's appearance for England under-16s back in May.

Ironically, both players used to play in the same rugby league team at Keighley Albion Juniors.

There will be plenty of new experiences for Kildunne during the upcoming Test series.

And while admitting there might be nerves on the big stage, the former Woodhouse Grove pupil will hope to channel the confidence she has been shown with her club side to earn her selection.

Kildunne said: "It will be quite daunting. It will be a crowd I haven't played in front of before. The most I've played in front of is 100 and something, so that'll be one thing.

"I just need to make sure as soon as I get on the pitch, that I play with the confidence I know that I've got.

"Otherwise I'll look back and regret not being able to play my type of rugby."

Kildunne can take plenty of heart from her strong start to the season with Gloucester, who are third in the Tyrells Premier table after four wins from their first six games.

Despite their first home defeat last Saturday against Saracens, there was still a positive for Kildunne as she scored her side's only try in a 33-7 reversal.

And the youngster has already had experience of training at elite level, having already been called up for an England camp.

"When I went to camp I was a bit scared at the start, but all the girls are really welcoming and supportive," she said.

"I was scared they wouldn't know how I play or believe in my performance, but they're all very supportive.

"Everyone's just striving to be the best.

"There's a lot of competition to get in the shirt but it's healthy competition as that's the only way people are going to get better.

"It's a very nice environment and obviously we want to win so that's what we're striving for."

England take on Canada at Allianz Park (November 17), Twickenham Stoop (November 21) and Twickenham (November 25). The latter two matches are live on Sky Sports.