Formative years set up Deborah Fleming’s route into the England squad. She was encouraged by her father Charles, who coached her at athletics from the age of nine until her mid-teens.
Deborah said: “Dad had me doing crazy sessions, running up sand dunes and through the sea in winter, circuits in the house, dragging car tyres up hills and other ‘old school’ training sessions. All that taught me to work hard and gave me a good training foundation that eventually took me into rugby at the age of 21. My parents always said ‘the diligent will prosper’ so I have taken this ethos into most things that I do.”
Born in the Cornish village of Gulval, Deborah attended the local primary school, Mounts Bay Academy, Truro College and the University of Bath, where she obtained a BA in Sport and Social Science. She played for Bristol before joining Saracens and helped them to finish as Premiership runners-up last season. Deborah, who lives in Headington, Oxford, plays wing in 15s and is a forward in sevens. She scored a maiden try against Russia in the Bronze final during her World Series debut tournament in Dubai last December and played in her second event in Las Vegas this March. Her second try, against Spain, came at Kitakyushu the following month.
Her favourite things are attending church, reading books by C.S. Lewis, going to live music gigs and lying on Cornish beaches – in fact doing anything in her native county. The charity she supports is Macmillan. Apart from rugby her favourite spectator sports are athletics and gymnastics and her music taste is anything from The Police to Justin Bieber. Deborah’s top film is Pride and Prejudice and she adores eating avocado. Friends describe her as “sassy, funny and intense”, although she sees herself as “courageous, friendly and honest”.
Last updated: 26 April 2017