The No 8 is a powerhouse for Saracens and the Red Roses. By Nick Heath

Who is Poppy Cleall: Ten things you should know about the England star

Poppy Cleall has the versatility to play across the back and second rows, and has been one of the Red Roses’ top performers at the start of the 2020s.

Ten things you should know about Poppy Cleall

1. Poppy Cleall was born with identical twin sister Bryony on 12 June 1992 in Norwich. Poppy was the first to meet the world.

2. She is a former prison officer, working at England’s most violent prison.

3. Both Poppy and Bryony took up rugby aged six at an after-school club where their brother Josh played. They also played for Ellingham & Ringwood, Wimborne and Salisbury RFCs on their rugby journey.

4. Poppy joined Saracens in 2012 before joining Bristol in 2016. A year later she returned to north London and in 2019 was named Player of the Match in the Premier 15s final as the club secured the title for a second successive year.

5. She founded the Women’s Rugby Agency in 2020 to encourage more girls to join the sport.

6. Her senior England debut came in 2016 when she came off the bench against Scotland in the Six Nations.

7. She plays in the back row and is often at No 8 for club Saracens but has switched between second row and back row for England.

8. During the Covid-19 restrictions, she co-founded a tuck shop for the Red Roses whilst in camp, providing door-to-door snacks for players to enjoy as they trained and lived in a hotel for the 2020 Women’s Six Nations.

Related: Downtime with Poppy Cleall

9. Poppy earned her 100th cap for Saracens in September 2021 as they beat Loughborough Lightning in the Premier 15s.

10. It seems 2021 was quite the year for this half of the Cleall sisters. Poppy won the Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship and Saracens’ Women’s Player of the Year award as well as making the Premier 15s Team of the Season.

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