Friday, 14th June 2019 @ 15:00
Following her selection for the Women’s Rugby Super Series, Harlequins Ladies prop Chloe Edwards relives her first appearance in the white shirt, against the Barbarians at the beginning of June
Versatile front row forward Edwards has been a vital part of the Quins squad over the past two seasons. Able to cover both Hooker and Prop, she has proved herself a valuable asset, however her performances this season have been particularly outstanding, earning herself a call-up to Simon Middleton’s squad for England Women’s inaugural match against the Barbarians earlier this month.
Despite her consistent form for the Club, selection for the national side came as a massive surprise to Edwards, if no-one else: “I literally found out when the squad was released. I didn’t expect to be included.
“To be able to run out at Twickenham was incredible. When I moved down to London in 2014, I rented a house where my bedroom overlooked the Stadium. I wanted to play there so badly but ultimately never thought I’d be able to.”
Despite the magnitude of the day, Edwards says she was able to keep her cool: “I genuinely wasn’t nervous. I’m normally quite level-headed, and even before the big games I’m quite good at being in control of my emotions.
“Leanne (Riley) told everyone after the match that I was like an ‘excited puppy’ before kick-off, which is true. From shirt presentation on the night before to the moment we got on the bus, I was absolutely buzzing! I was so excited!
“Driving into the stadium and walking into the changing rooms, then out onto the pitch was incredible. When I was on the field, I was able to focus on the match itself, but afterwards it was special to be greeted by friends and family, as well as fellow players.
“I’ve had so much encouragement from the rest of the squad. I had texts from Leah Lyons (Ireland), Jade Konkel (Scotland) and Kristine Sommer (USA). The rest of the group also sent me the nicest messages of support.”
“During the first half of the week in camp, I roomed with Emily Scott and then was with Leanne for the rest. I certainly had a lot of encouragement from the Quins girls.”
Reflecting on the achievement, Edwards says that she has certainly fulfilled a lifelong ambition: “I started playing the game when I was at university in Leeds and this lady at my club said that one day I would play for England and I thought “yeah, sure”. But when the squad was announced, I sent her a text and thanked her for the encouragement, and she was really chuffed by that.
“I never thought I would ever play for England. I was interviewed at the start of this season and was asked if I had any international aspirations, and though everyone in sport wants to reach the highest level, I honestly didn’t think that it would be possible for me because the focus has generally been on developing the younger players, and I’m entering the second half of my playing career.
“To even be able to train alongside the calibre of player they have in the England squad meant so much to me but to play in that white shirt was extra special.”
Edwards will be looking to continue her excellent form alongside her fellow internationals at the Club next season. Guarantee your seat at all home Tyrrells Premier 15s matches with a Harlequins Membership for 2019/20. Click here for more details.