Women's rugby at theUniversity of Exeter has received another boost following the selection ofplayers Amber Reed and Zoe Saynor for England's international summer toursquads.
The pair both formed anintegral part of the University of Exeter's Women's Rugby Team which won theBritish Universities and Colleges Sport Championship, following a nail-bitingfinal at Twickenham, in March.
However, despite competingtogether for the University first team the girls will not be playing side byside, or even in the same country as they make their mark for England indifferent events, on different continents.
England regular, Amber Reed (3rdyear, Exercise and Sports Sciences) will travel to New Zealand in July for athree match test series against reigning world champions the New Zealand BlackFerns. The third year centre has a strong record against the Ferns, formingpart of the squad who defeated them 3:0 in the autumn internationals last year.
The match will offer crucialpreparation for the England team, who are already preparing for the World Cupin 2014. Amber, who will travel down-under for the first time with the side isrelishing the challenge. She said: "It is a massive honour to be called up forthe England squad to tour New Zealand. It is a new experience for me,travelling to New Zealand, but an opportunity that I hope to make the most offollowing on from the Six Nations campaign.
"After our successful autumninternational series it will be good to challenge the reigning world championson their home soil. It is going to be a tough tour playing against world classopposition but one I feel we can make the most of as part of a squad lookingforward to 2014."
Following this, Zoe Saynor (3rdyear PhD, Exercise testing and training for paediatric Cystic FibrosisPatients) will travel to Denver, Colorado to make her international debut atthe Nations Cup, as part of the championship defending squad against Canada,USA and South Africa.
Despite only attending oneEngland training session prior to selection, the second row has constantlydemonstrated her capability this season as part of the RFU's incrediblysuccessful divisional programme and for the Bristol Premiership team.
Joining eight other debutantsin a young side that will undoubtedly be eager to impress, Zoe commented: "Iwas initially very shocked and my progress through the system has been quitefast. However, my ultimate sporting goal has always been to strive to playinternational rugby.
"It is a great honour to havebeen chosen as a member of the squad for the Nations Cup tour and I relish theopportunity to show my potential in the most competitive and challenging ofenvironments."
University captain Amber expressed her joy in seeing a team matejoin the international ranks. She commented: "I am delighted for Zoe as I haveseen first-hand her commitment and willingness to learn over the previous fewyears. I hope that she enjoys the experience and will treasure the memories asopportunities like this don't come round often."
Rugby is one of theUniversity of Exeter's focus sports receiving dedicated training and supportfrom the University's High Performance Unit, including women's coach and formerEngland Captain Jo Yapp.
Assistant Director of Sport(Performance and Competitions) Nick Beasant said: "We are extremely proud ofour women's rugby programme at the University of Exeter. It has been a reallysuccessful season for the girls, currently ranked second in BUCS and with anumber of regional and these international call ups showing the pedigree of ourplayers.
"We have an exceptional coachin Jo and she continues to maximise our player development, making Exeterplayers the logical choice for international honours. We wish them the best ofluck, particularly Amber who is graduating from Exeter this summer. We will befollowing their progress closely throughout their campaigns."