Source: Paul Terry/JMP

An interview with England U20 Sophie Hopkins

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Our second U20 interview was with Sophie Hopkins of Sale Sharks

How old were you when you started playing rugby?

Sophie Hopkins (Photo: Paul Terry/JMP) England U20 Women v Army – Friendly

Sophie: I started when I was about 14.

My first club was Fullerians. I actually started playing at school before that, but my first club was Fullerians.

What attracted you to rugby?

Sophie: My PE teacher at school was Helen Harding, who actually played in the 1990s World Cup for England, so she was like a role model for me and she helped me get into school rugby.

She’s actually being inducted into the Wasp’s Hall of Fame pretty soon. So yeah, she was like my role model when I first started playing rugby.

Fullerians were my under eighteens team, so I aged out of that team when I left school last year and am now contracted to Sale Sharks.

From there you got picked for the England Under 18?

Sophie: Yeah, from Fullerians. I then played county. So I played for Middlesex and then from County I played for the Wasp Centre Excellence and then from there I got selected for the Under 18 team.

Wasps was my first ever professional club, so I’m sad to see it go.

Apart from Helen who are your other rugby role models/players who inspire you?

Sophie: Well, definitely Miss Harding for sure.

Probably Ellie Kildunne, she is a massive inspiration for me, I like her speed and agility. I really admire her and look up to her. And that’s kind of player I want to be when I’m older.

The France U20s apparently train with the senior team, do you train with the Red Roses?

Sophie: No, we don’t. Maybe one day. Yeah, maybe one day.  We don’t have much crossover between a senior team, but some of the under 20s have been invited into the senior camp, because that’s the kind of transitional step that all of us want to get to, so the under 20s, readies us for the senior team. And then when our coaches think that we’re ready, then we can go join them in the senior team. But only for a few of us make it.

But, I would love to meet all of the the Red Roses.

So is it a big transition from the Under 18s into the Under 20s and then the Senior Team?

Sophie: Yeah, I think so because the maximum age you can be here is 20, obviously. So then moving up into the senior team where you have people from all ages and people have been training for a lot longer and have a lot more experience. It is quite a big jump. But the point of under 20s is to like have a bit of a kind of transitional step in between like premiership and the senior team. So I mean this is what camp is for, but yeah, there’s probably is quite a big bridge to gap.

Do you play similar opponents with the U18s?

Sophie: Yeah. So last year I played against Wales.

And there was the Six Nations in the summer as well. So we played all of the other the five nations in that which is really exciting.

Going forward with the U20s are you looking forward to more games?

Sophie: We have some friendlies coming up too after France, which will be really exciting as well so this week we’re focusing on the France game and, very excited for Saturday. But also looking forward to playing Wales and Ireland and then our summer series in July.

So what are you looking forward to about the French game?

Sophie: Well, this is very exciting for me because this will be the first time that I’ve gone abroad to play rugby, so this is quite a big step for me in terms of like my international career.

So I’m massively excited to go to France and I actually study French as part of my degree. It’ll be good to practise some of that in France, on real people.

And as far as the game is concerned we are looking to start off really strong and shut them down early because we know that they would like to play with a lot of flair and a lot of excitement and tempo. So if we shut them down quickly and early and stay on top of them, then hopefully they just can’t get any momentum and can’t get back up in our faces.

So far I’ve played on the wings in this match series, but I play either of the back field positions.

 

At this point we had some technical issues and Sophie had to go and meet with her coach. I didn’t have the opportunity to wish her good luck for Saturday and with the rest of her rugby career unfortunately. We wish her well and are grateful for her time and are very much looking forward to seeing how this team does in France.  I am sure Miss Harding is very proud of her too!

One Comments

  1. Reply Post By Phil Auchard

    Trying to shut down the Frenchs and staying in top of them didn’t worked out as she expected…
    The French U20 won this game 74 – 0

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