International Pathway

  • England Women u202011
  • Saracens (W)2013
  • Bristol (W)2015
  • England Women National Academy2015
  • England Women2016

Profile

Doing things by halves is not in Poppy's psyche. Her charitable work has involved cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats and trekking the Annapurna mountain range in north central Nepal. As if that’s not enough, Poppy is part of the Moody Cows sevens team that has helped to raise more than £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

She even has an identical twin sister, Bryony, who has played for Bristol in the Premiership and is now with Saracens. Poppy said: “We won the National Championship at Ellingham & Ringwood in 2009 and the Premiership with Saracens and we played together in all for ten years, including games for Hampshire and the South of England.”

Her own playing days began at an after-school club when she was six and she went on to Ellingwood & Ringwood RFC with brief spells at Salisbury and Wimborne. She has returned to Bristol this season, having played for the club from 2010/12 before switching to Saracens from 2013/16. Norwich-born Poppy attended Burgate School and Sixth Form Centre in Hampshire, studied sports therapy and rehab at the University of West of England in Bristol and played for the England U20 side that beat Wales, Canada and South Africa six years ago.

Her guiding influence as well her father was Steve Benson at Ellingwood & Ringwood. She said: “He was always passionate and knowledgeable. You could really tell he enjoyed coaching and would always go out of his way for anyone. My dad drove my sister and I everywhere and always spent hours critiquing our performances. I value his opinion most.  

“My proudest moment in rugby was my first cap for England against Scotland in February last year. My sister had travelled to Cumbernauld to watch. It was a great experience, the accumulation of years of hard work and we won 32-0. Doing the double of the Premiership and National Cup with Saracens in 2015 was a proud moment, too. I love hockey and football but support West Ham only because my dad does!”

Poppy’s favouring things are Italian food and R&B music while her top film is Up, her best ‘read’ is Gone Girl and Great British Bake Off is the TV show she enjoys most. To unwind, she also takes her rabbit, Reginald for a walk. She added: “He even has his own lead!”

International Record

2016 S(R), It(R), W(R), F(R) I(R), NZ(R), C(R) 2017 F(R) W(R), It(R), S(R), I(R)

Last updated: 20 March 2017

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