Report by ANDREW McGILL A RUGBY-mad pupil from Hinchingbrooke School is on course for international honours – after being chosen to attend a series of training camps. Huntingdon student Lizell Heather, 15, will attend six Talent and Development Group (TDG
A RUGBY-mad pupil from Hinchingbrooke School is on course for international honours - after being chosen to attend a series of training camps.
Huntingdon student Lizell Heather, 15, will attend six Talent and Development Group (TDG) sessions organised by the Rugby Football Union for girls aged 17 and under.
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One of the youngest in the group, Lizell was selected as one of the 30 best U17 prospects in the country after attending a series of trials.
Full-back Lizell plays rugby for Kettering U17 and the Eastern Counties representative side, and has already bagged a hatful of tries for her club side this season.
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The TDG sessions will focus on developing core rugby skills, understanding of the game, strength and conditioning development, nutritional advice, sports psychology and performance lifestyle.
Tom Stokes, RFU Women National Talent ID Officer, said: "The RFUW has recognised that to produce World Class international rugby players, development and education of young players is crucial.
"The TDG will provide a platform to deliver, implement and manage important services to the most talented young female rugby players over the course of the season."
The young rugby star began playing the sport at the age of eight when she joined Brampton Juniors before joining Huntingdon Stags.
However, RFU rules state girls and boys should not play together beyond 12 years and Lizell, who lives in Southoe, has been battling to find a club ever since.
She joined Shelford, and later Oundle, only to find the clubs forced to fold because of a lack of members. Now she travels to Kettering twice a week to play for the club - meaning lots of travelling for her supportive mum Michelle.
Dave Goodjohn is head coach of girls' rugby at Kettering. He said: "Women's rugby has noticeably been on the up in recent years, with increased funding from the RFU available and increased co-operation between clubs.
"Lizell has benefited from this and is coming through at the right time. The TDG sessions will give her the chance to learn about nutrition and the psychological side of the game.
"She has a talent for taking advantage when play breaks down and that has helped her score a lot of tries so far this season."
Tracey Rippin, who teaches Lizell PE at Hinchingbrooke, said: "She is extremely dedicated to her sport and has a bright future in rugby.
"Having seen England Ladies play I believe Lizell has an excellent chance of representing her country because she still has years to improve."
The TDG sessions will take place between January and August and Lizell said: "I'm looking forward to increasing my training and getting fitter. I can trial for England U19s next year and these sessions will help me improve my all-around game.
"I'd love to play for England one day and I really hope that I can achieve my dream.