Cleall has no longer got an RFU contract

Poppy Cleall’s reaction to not having her Rugby Football Union contract renewed has seen her say her ambitions in rugby remain the same.

The governing body announced the 32 contracts for the 2024/25 season on Monday. However, 65-cap player Cleall was not on the list. This means Cleall is no longer a professional rugby player.

Read more: Poppy Cleall ban

England have a new head coach in John Mitchell and he did not select Cleall in his first training camp in charge. However, she was chosen for the 2024 Women’s Six Nations, though she did not make an appearance. A ban prevented her from being involved in the first game and injury thwarted the end of the tournament.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be employed by the RFU for nearly 7 years,” Cleall said on social media. “And yes, put plainly, it’s sh*t to not get my contract renewed and to lose my job and income. But the real story, should be the two new contracts handed out for players to live their dreams. Unreal.”

Maddie Feaunati and Liz Crake were both handed a contract for the first time.

Cleall went on to speak about her time with England in 2024.

“I met with Mitch in Jan, he told me the style he wanted to push England in,” she said. “He told me I needed to improve some parts of my game to fit this. I 100% respect Mitch’s opinion. I took this as a challenge, I worked on this and was rewarded with a call up to the 2024 Six Nations squad, a huge honour. And I’m still trying to improve my game. Sometimes the style you play in doesn’t fit the game plan, there are many different ways and styles to play the game, that’s the beauty. And guys, that’s okay.

“My ambition stays the same, my achievements stay the same, my career doesn’t just go down the pan.

“I heard a quote once, and I 100% agree with it. You don’t retire from international rugby, you just don’t get picked anymore. I always gave and will give my all for my country and club. Looking forward to the next few years whatever they maybe (mainly looking forward to the Semis this weekend. My 7th in a row. COYSG). P.s what a squad, crazy amount of talent.”

Cleall plays her club rugby for Saracens. The club are competing in the Premiership Women’s Rugby semi-final against Bristol on Sunday.

The other semi-final is being competed beaten Gloucester-Hartpury and Exeter Chiefs. The winners of the two semis will play one another in the final on 22 June.

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