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Emerging Bristol Bears talent Millie David to make first England U20 start against Wales

It will be a homecoming for Bristol Bears’ Millie David as she has been named to start on the wing for England under-20 women against Wales tomorrow.

With the Red Roses senior side having defeated Wales in Bristol during their Six Nations Grand Slam, their age-grade counterparts will travel to Shaftesbury Park, the home of Dings Crusaders and Bristol Bears Women, for their final spring fixture.

Set for her first international start at U20 level, David featured only as a replacement in England’s huge 95-5 victory over the British Army and their 74-0 loss away to France.

Millie David of England Rugby Women's U20 team in action against the British Army
Millie David of England Rugby Women’s U20 team in action against the British Army | Credit: RFU Collection via JMP UK

Speaking exclusively with the Sports Gazette, she said: “We’ve learnt a lot from the France game that we might not have if it wasn’t as tough as it was. It was beneficial.

“We are positive going into the Wales game, knowing that we want to prove a point now.”

Growing up watching two of her four brothers playing for Reading, David started playing the sport from an early age.

She said: “I just wanted to be like them. I played tag rugby in primary school and then my dad convinced me to join an actual club when I started secondary school.”

Moving to Bristol following the collapse of Wasps, where she was a member of their Centre of Excellence, David has already represented the Bears in the Allianz Cup, scoring against Leicester Tigers in October.

She said: “Obviously, it wasn’t fun when it all happened [Wasps’ collapse]. I learned loads from training with the seniors like Claudia MacDonald when she was there, she’s class.

“Even though I didn’t play, just being in that senior environment a little bit earlier on was really helpful.”

“I think getting a Premiership debut [for Bristol Bears] is step one, and then building up from there. I’d like to be a starter every week.”

A core group of young outside backs is emerging at Bristol Bears, with David labelling U20 teammate Reneeqa Bonner, Ella Lovibond, and Wales international Jenny Hesketh, as like her older sisters.

She said: “They’re only a little bit older than me and doing so well. What they’re doing now is achievable for me in a couple of years.”

This is not David’s first time in an international environment, having previously represented England at U18 level in both 15s and sevens formats, including at the Rugby Europe U18 Sevens Championship last summer in Prague.

https://twitter.com/EnglandRugby/status/1632385389167013889

She said: “It’s a whole different side of rugby. It was really fun, especially at the end of the season, something more fun before going into a hard environment this year.”

Since starting a Maths degree at the University of the West of England (UWE) in September, David has starred for both North Bristol and her university’s rugby clubs alongside the Bears.

She said: “When I was looking at universities, I was looking at ones that were good academically and had a good Premiership setup alongside. I started narrowing it down and Bristol just felt right.

“You learn different things from different levels of rugby. If you’re playing with good teams, you may not learn defensive stuff because you’re always winning, for example.

“It’s really hard going from college rugby to Bristol Bears where the standard is so high. Just getting game time outside of that and get the confidence, playing for North Bristol as well, is good.”

Missing much of Freshers’ Week at UWE due to her sevens involvement, David has settled into the student life.

“My schedule is full on, so it is a lot of rugby and university, but I’ve made a lot of friends through my course. 

“It’s nice that none of them really know anything about rugby.”

Despite this, David is hopeful that her newfound friends will be cheering her from the side-lines this weekend.

“It’s not too far for them. Hopefully I’ll see a few of them there, which will be nice, and I’ll appreciate their support.”

England U20 Women vs Wales will be livestreamed on England Rugby’s YouTube channel on Saturday, with kick-off at 2pm (BST).

Author

  • Henry Ollis-Brown

    Henry is a sports journalist with a passion for rugby and motorsports. He is a keen supporter of Harlequins and England rugby. He can normally be found researching an obscure fact to put into an article.