Doing things by halves is not in Poppy Cleall’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 plays at Saracens alongside twin sister, Bryony, who was awarded an EPS agreement at the same time Poppy earned a full-time England contract in January 2019.
Poppy started playing at an after-school club when she was six and went on to Ellingham & Ringwood RFC with brief spells at Salisbury and Wimborne.
She played for Bristol between 2010-12 and during the 2016-17 season, with Saracens being her home in between times - a club she re-joined for the 2017-18 Tyrrells Premier 15s.
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.
Having made her England debut in the 2016 Six Nations, she featured in every match for England’s 2017 Grand Slam winning side and was a late call-up at the Women's Rugby World Cup squad that year where she played three times.
In 2018 Cleall continued her rise and showcased her versatility – starting all five games in the Six Nations and scoring three tries as she switched her time between blindside flanker, No 8 and second row. She also featured in all five of the 2019 Women’s Six Nations, scoring four tries, as England went onto win a Grand Slam.
Her guiding influence as well as 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.”
40 points - 8T
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, S, F, I, C, I 2019 – I, F, W, It(R), S.
Last updated: 15 May 2019