Bryony Cleall played her first international of 2019 for England in the Women’s Six Nations and is preparing to play her second on Saturday.
|Location: Castle Park, Doncaster Date: Saturday, 3. April Diploma: 15:00 TSB|
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The Women’s Six Nations finally resumes on Saturday, two months later than expected, but for England stablemate Bryony Clell the wait has been much longer.
Clell will make his return to the international stage against Scotland in his second international in two years since his debut.
The 28-year-old Saracens striker has been out of action for almost seven years due to injury and has thought about quitting rugby at times.
It is understandable that Clell describes his reception in early fifteenth century England as a return to the end of all returns.
When their troubles began, the props were getting ready for trials in England in the early 20s.
She tore her ACL at age 17, and due to complications, she had to undergo four knee surgeries and was sidelined for five years.
At the age of 22, Cleoll began playing the sport and played it relentlessly until she made her England debut four years later and played a role in the Red Roses winning the 2019 Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam.
At the height of his career, Cleall was arrested again.
After returning to Saracens, the forward broke her leg in a league game, which also required surgery.
She was not released until 19 months later, until October 2020, when she suffered a stress fracture in the same leg in the first minutes after her return.
So far, Cleall has been working hard to prepare for her return after contracting a coronavirus in January that kept her sidelined for another month.
His story is one of unimaginable perseverance, which finally seems to be paying off, as Cleall has been included in the starting eleven by England coach Simon Middleton, having made a number of appearances for Saracens since his return in February.
It’s been so long that I thought this would never happen, Clell says.
I had to ask if it was April 1, because the team was on the 1st. April is out. I don’t know how it will be [to play]. I couldn’t even put it into words.
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Poppy (left) and Bryony Cleall play together at Saracens.
This international return is made even more special by the fact that Cleall will be playing alongside her twin sister, Poppy.
The pair previously played together at Saracens and Poppy when Bryony made his England debut two years ago.
Bryony says her sister is the best player in the world right now, and there’s certainly something to be said for being an integral part of Middleton’s team since her debut in 2016.
The two sisters had similar rugby careers before injuries forced Briony to change her path, and she says Poppy has been one of her biggest supporters during difficult times.
I remember when I came back from the ACL, I told myself I wasn’t going to play rugby anymore, that I was going to leave it to Poppy, she explains.
I watched them and thought it would be really cool to see them play for England.
When I got the chance to play alongside him, I knew it was possible. I was looking forward to having experiences with her and doing what she does.
We had open conversations about whether I was ready or not, because when you get injured, you start asking a lot of questions.
Poppy is one of the most natural people out there, and she told me I could do it, and it was a matter of how I absorbed it mentally. She gave me clear words and made me believe in myself.
I like that we play for the men separately.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the women’s six-nation tournament has been postponed and will be played in an abbreviated format in 2021.
The teams will be divided into two pools and will play two group games to determine the ranking for the final, instead of the usual five tournament.
Organizers say the new format is likely to last only a year, but that they will consider continuing the tournament at a different time from the men’s tournament, which as usual was held in February and March.
Whether the women’s tournament would be better run concurrently with the men’s tournament is controversial and Cleall believes a separate window works well.
I like that we play for the men separately, she says.
It gives us the chance to be more exposed and to be the only English team playing.
I would like to see the Women’s Six Nations become a normal structure next year, so we can develop at a different time of year.
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