ENGAGE Super League stars Lee Gilmour (pictured) and James Donaldson have sent their support to the England rugby league women’s team ahead of their two-Test series against France which kicks off in Avignon tomorrow (Saturday) when both men will be eagerly anticipating the reports on how their sisters perform.
Huddersfield Giants centre Gilmour will be looking out for his sister Natalie, who plays for Featherstone Rovers Ladies and has been selected as joint captain of the England national team, whilst Bradford Bulls forward Donaldson will be hoping his sister Amanda can lead from the front as a key member of the England pack.
“It’s really great that Nat’s been selected as captain again.” said Gilmour. “It’s a massive achievement for anyone in any sport to be able to captain their country so I’m delighted for her and I know everyone in our family is very proud.
“She was always sporty when she was young and she was one of those people who was great at every sport she played. She played hockey at England under 16 level as well before getting into rugby when she was around 18, so she’s always been very talented and that transferred across into rugby.
“She’s been part of the England set-up now for a long time and I know she’ll be very determined to ensure the Women’s side come back from France as winners and it would be great for everyone involved to get a good series win.
“We’re both supportive of each other and looking back, one thing I think would have been great for us is if we could have both played for England during the 2008 World Cup. Nat was in the ladies side for their tournament but unfortunately I missed out on the men’s squad and I think that would have been very special for us and our family.”
England Women will face their French counterparts in the second Test next Wednesday and after suffering a disappointing defeat against New Zealand’s during a trip Down Under last year will be determined to get back to winning ways against France.
“It’s a great thing for Amanda to be playing for England. It’s awesome to see her involved,” said Donaldson. “She works very hard and is always training and whenever we have a catch up we always end up talking about rugby.
“It’s not often you can get brothers and sisters playing the same sport but we’ve both played rugby ever since we were about seven years old and we managed to play a few games together at underage level when we were younger, which was a great experience to look back on and one that we both probably didn’t fully appreciate at the time.
“She’s playing for England, which is a bit surreal in certain ways, but it also gives me something to aspire to as I want to represent England as well. Everybody jokes that she’s better than me and they tell me I need to get a few lessons on how to play from her.
“She’s been off playing in Australia and New Zealand representing England and that’s obviously something that everybody would love to do, so it would be great for me to get that chance as well and I need to keep training hard and playing my best and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do that with the men’s side in the future.
“Mum travels down to watch us play every weekend and our grandparents and aunties and everyone are always very supportive of us and we’re all very proud of Amanda. Hopefully she can do well in France and come back as part of a successful team.”