Talented English duo extend Sixways stay

Explosive centre Jade Shekells and England international prop Laura Keates have penned new deals, which will keep them at Sixways ahead of the 2021/22 Allianz Premier 15s season.

Shekells, 24, was the recipient of the 2020/21 Players’ Player of the Season award following a stellar campaign at Warriors, while World Cup-winner Keates is set to embark on her 14th season with Warriors.

The duo have joined England stars Alex Matthews and Lydia Thompson in committing their future to Warriors.

“Jade had a really good season, and she is an extremely talented young player, while Laura brings a lot of experience to the team which is vital,” said Warriors Women Director of Rugby Jo Yapp.

“We are really excited to see how much more Jade can progress as a player after a campaign in which she was awarded Players’ Player of the Season.

“Laura has given so much for the club and we can’t wait to see her back fully fit and on the field.”

England Under-20 capped Shekells made her Warriors debut on the opening day of the 2019/20 season and has since blossomed into a strong, attack-minded centre. Cutting her rugby-playing teeth with Worcester Girls, Shekells benefitted from being part of the SSE Next Generation Scheme.

“I’m really happy to be re-signing with Worcester,” said Shekells.

“I really enjoyed last season and we made great progress, which makes it all the more exciting to see what we can achieve in the upcoming season.”

From the backline to the front-row, Bahrain-born Keates has been a cornerstone of Warriors’ pack since 2005 at which time she soon earned international honours with England at under-19 and under-20 level.

A World Cup-winner in 2014, Keates has represented the Red Roses 61 times and helped her country record back-to-back wins over France last autumn before an ACL injury cut her season short.

Getting back to full fitness as she continues her successful rehab programme, Keates is determined to see Warriors flourish next season.

“Everyone has been putting in the hard work over pre-season, and I’m really excited about how it will all come together.

“We had some really good performances last season and we’re growing as a team, so I’m looking forward to us putting it all together and hopefully putting in some great performances.”