With her latest performances provoking the question “Is there a better finisher in World Rugby?”, #hotstepper #twinkletoes #genius are just some of the phrases recently used in admiration of the skill of Wasps’ fullback Danielle “Nolli” Waterman.
With just three rounds left in the inaugural Tyrrells Premier 15s season and two games left of the Women’s Six Nation, Holly Foskett took the opportunity to pull Nolli aside and get the ins and outs of her life in Red, White, Black and Gold.
Nolli moved to Wasps FC Ladies following the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Five months down the line we were intrigued to find out whether she felt she was liking the new sting in her tail.
“I have loved my time at Wasps so far. Giselle is a superb Director of Rugby and there is a real ‘family’ culture among the side and the club as a whole. There is a great mix of experience amongst the players, and I am really enjoying the opportunity to not only challenge myself and build on my own game, but also supporting and mentoring the younger/ less experienced players who have a huge amount of talent.”
If you were stranded on a desert island and could take one NEW team mate – who would it be?
“I would probably take Tova if stuck on a desert island. She’s great fun, a little bit bonkers and she could teach me Swedish to pass the time. She’s also very fast so could catch food, and is small so there would be more for me to eat!”
We are now very close to the end of Tyrrells Premier 15s season one, has the new competition lived up to expectations?
“I definitely feel the league is the strongest it has ever been, emphasised in how close the fight for 3rd and 4th positions in the table to make play offs. With increased access to S&C, physio and performance analysis, for players outside of the elite set up, players are becoming better athletes with better knowledge of what it takes to compete at this level.”
With some “new” jerseys in the premiership this season, who are the ones to watch and are there any dark horses?
“Loughborough Lightning and Gloucester Hartpury have both had some great results this season. Based out of academic institutes, it will be interesting to see how the pool of younger talent can be supported in their transition to senior level rugby.”
With some additional colours added to your rugby jersey wardrobe, has it been hard to juggle your outfits?
“No. Club rugby provides the backbone to a playing season and without stepping up and performing for Wasps on a weekly basis it would be hard to perform in an England shirt. I also never take for granted my selection into the England team, and thus, club rugby is my opportunity to show my current form alongside all of the young and exciting talent that are pushing for the shirt… It’s definitely hard to be away and miss Club fixtures but at the same time it gives a perfect opportunity for players to gain valuable experience in a starting shirt and take more senior roles.”
How does you experience with Red Roses contribute to Club Rugby and vice versa?
“This year I have seen my role as a senior player develop, and it is something that Giselle has really encouraged and supported. For example, playing alongside Abby Dow in the back three has allowed me to support her development as a player. Abby is an exceptionally talented young player with a huge future as a Red Rose, but also has lots of room to develop and progress her game like us all. Taking to the field with her for both Club and Country has accelerated my knowledge of her as a player e.g. the time and space she likes with the ball and those details can make a huge difference to performance.”
This season you have individual sponsorship through two organisations, Quilter Cheviot and Europa Group- what does support like this do for players at this level?
“The sponsorship I have received this year whilst at Wasps has been critical in allowing me to be the best athlete I can be, and how I am performing at the weekends is a real reflection of this. I have been able to access additional physio and sports massage, which are both key components for both recovery and keeping me fit and moving well. I have also used the sponsorship to purchase kit, specifically boots and trainers as this is not something we are given, but clearly fundamental to performance.”
Tyrrell’s Premier 15s – it says it loud and clear in the name. What difference does a title sponsor make?
“Having Tyrrells as a title sponsor for the new Premier 15’s has been great for the female game and it is a hugely exciting time to be involved in the fastest growing side of the sport. With exceptionally positive feedback from both online and Sky Sports broadcasting, the hope is to see more of our games being shown live on a regular basis, and as such, draw more viewers and potential sponsors to the game.”
Nolli earned her 80th International cap for England in Friday’s game against Scotland which is testimony to her undisputable talent, skill and commitment to the sport. Whilst we wish Nolli, Justo, Amy, Rocky, Abby and the Red Roses the best of luck in the remaining Six Nations fixtures, we look forward to their return to finish off the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s Season.
Article by Holly Foskett, Wasps