Meet the Players | Poppy Fletcher | Scotland Women U20

Meet the Players | Poppy Fletcher | Scotland Women U20

Ahead of the 2024 Six Nations Women’s Summer Series in Parma, Italy, get to know the stars of the future.

You can meet the rest of the team, here.

Poppy Fletcher

Now an experienced loose-head prop, Poppy Fletcher’s introduction to rugby started at Dunbar Rugby Club minis when she was in Primary 6 after previously taking part in judo, where she earned a brown-belt.

“It was my coach Ian’s son, who was my friend, who told me to come try rugby,” explained Poppy.

“I did judo before rugby, so I’ve always liked physical sports and my friend was just like, ‘come give it a go, you’ll be able to take on all the boys’, so I did and I absolutely loved it from day one.

“I loved it at Dunbar. I was the only girl there, but all the boys were really encouraging, and it was just a bit of a muck-about with them, I had a lot of fun. We were a really tight-knit group. We played touch rugby during lunch time at school, it was such a great group to be around.”

After leaving Dunbar, Poppy joined the East Lothian Girls team for the remainder of her youth rugby, and latterly joined Heriot’s Blues for her first spell of senior rugby.

“I obviously had to leave and find a girls team when I went into S1 and that was quite sad, but it was also exciting going to play with other girls”, said Poppy.

“My first senior team was Heriot’s and I was surrounded by so much talent from coaches and players. Lucy Brown, who was coaching at the time, she was a huge support for me and really helped me develop.

“Slaw (Sarah Law) was also coaching me at the time, and she was really influential in terms of her advice and coaching support. I can often be quite hard on myself from a performance point of view, but she would always take time after a game to speak to me if I was a bit down, she always had a lot of great stuff to say.

“Being at Heriot’s was incredible because I was playing with Lisa Martin, Annabel Sergeant, Megan Gaffney and Caitlin Sedgeworth, having that group who have played internationally at the club was really inspiring. Even just seeing them come to training in Scotland kit and hearing them talk about games they played, it was a huge drive for me.”

Poppy in action for the Thistles in the 2022/23 Celtic Challenge.

Whilst Poppy credits the coaches and players who have surrounded her in the last few years, she believes her biggest rugby influence started when she was at Dunbar.

“Ian Sammels was the first person to get me into rugby and he’s probably been the biggest influence for me. He really encouraged me and pushed me along”, said Poppy.

“He’s followed me ever since, supporting me at Celtic Challenge games and always checking in to see where I am. It’s meant a lot to me.”

Now selected for Scotland Women U20, Poppy is no stranger to international age-grade rugby. In 2022, the loose-head prop was selected as the captain for Scotland Women U18 in the first ever U18 Six Nations Festival, and last year was selected for the Scotland Futures programme, travelling to Italy for the Tri-Nations experience.

In the 2023/24 season, Poppy was selected for Edinburgh Rugby is the Celtic Challenge. She made seven appearances for the capital side, scoring two tries in the competition.

Poppy Fletcher in action for Edinburgh Rugby during the Celtic Challenge.

Whilst she hasn’t always played in the front row, Poppy is enjoying honing her craft.

“I moved into the front row about two years ago. I love playing there”, said Poppy.

“The way I see it is that we have a massive influence on the game as ball carriers, looking to win scrum pens, we are always lifting in the line out. We have lots of jobs to do, and having that job is really cool.”

Another job Poppy has this season is as co-tour captain, joining Hannah Walker in the leadership role.

“I got a call from Shanks (Claire Cruikshank) and I was initially really worried, but she was like ‘don’t worry, it’s all good’, and yeah, it’s a real honour. I’m really, really excited. This is a really great group and everyone brings so much energy to it so it almost doesn’t feel like a captaining role because we have lots of different leaders, it’ll be more helping to drive things.

“This new Six Nations Summer Series is a really exciting opportunity for us to challenge ourselves and take that next step, I’m really looking forward to getting going.”

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