Valkyries seven on county duty with North Midlands

Seven Valkyries have been named in North Midlands’ starting XV for Sunday’s opening match in the Gill Burns County Championship against Lancashire at Birmingham Exiles RFC (kick-off 2.00pm).

Openside flanker Rosin McBrien will captain North Midlands and will pack down with four of her Valkyries team-mates – hooker Alicia Watkins, tighthead prop Niamh Massam-Vallely, lock Liz Shermer and blindside flanker Jasmine Gibbons.

In the backs Valkyries provide both wings in Dijanna Clarke and Thea Thompson.

Clarke, who has played for Valkyries Under-18s and Development sides this season, Watkins and Gibbons are among 14 county debutants in the North Midlands matchday squad.

Lark Davies, Valkyries’ captain and England hooker, helped North Midlands prepare for the County Championship by talking to the county squad about her own journey from club and county rugby to becoming a Grand Slam winner this season.