ENGLAND Rugby has awarded 17 women’s sevens contracts for the upcoming 2018/19 season and one of those has been handed to Keighley teenager Ellie Kildunne.

There are seven new names in the squad, including the 18-year-old Kildunne, who makes the transition from 15s having scored nine tries in eight appearances for the Red Roses last season.

She will continue her studies at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, attending part-time as well as taking up a squad contract. Four of her teammates also find themselves in the same situation.

Kildunne is part of a strong line-up and England Women's Sevens head coach, James Bailey, said: “There’s a real excitement about the squad and confidence in this talented group of players.

"What we have looked at is bringing together a group who will allow us to play a unique style of sevens. While we have a number of experienced names, we have some talented athletes who started their sporting careers outside of rugby."

With the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series increased to six rounds this season, the series will start with a new first leg in Colorado on October 20-21.

Qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games takes place this season and England is the nominated nation to secure Team GB's place at the event.

Bailey added: “This season is going to be a huge but incredible challenge and is undoubtedly going to be the most competitive one yet in the women’s game.

"Our priority is Olympic qualification, and while there’s still a lot of work to be done, we know what’s required and we’re fully embracing it."


Lizzie Adam, Holly Aitchison, Claire Allan, Jess Breach, Abbie Brown, Abi Burton, Heather Fisher, Deborah Fleming, Emma Hardy, Natasha Hunt, Megan Jones, Ellie Kildunne, Alex Matthews, Celia Quansah, Helena Rowland, Emily Scarratt, Emma Uren