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 10 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 returned to Bristol for the 2016/17 season, having played for the club from 2010/12 before switching to Saracens from 2013/16 where she has now returned.
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 featured in every match for the 2017 Grand Slam winning side, and was a late replacement call-up at the Women's Rugby World Cup that year where she played three times.
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!”
15 points - 3T
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), C, C RWC - S(R), I(R), USA(R) 2018 It, W
Last updated: 12 February 2018.