OSWESTRY’S first player to represent her country has spoken of her experience after making her debut against Scotland recently.

Abi Kershaw played the full 70 minutes for the national side as they came out on top with a 39-5 victory over their Scottish counterparts.

The 16-year-old has played rugby for nine years and represented Oswestry for her first time at the age of seven.

With the memory of her England under-18s debut still fresh in her mind, Abi spoke of how she found the step up to national level.

She said: “I got asked to play by one of the coaches who saw me playing for Oswestry – I was then asked to go along for a trial.

“I went through a selection camp for the Scotland game and I was asked to come along and be part of the starting 12.

“It was really exciting.

“It felt like quite a big step up at first.

“At club level, some players you come up against still have trouble tackling properly, whereas at this level, everyone knows how to make clean hard tackles.

“The England and Scotland players were both very good in that sense, they missed very few tackles.

“It was quite physical compared to some of the games I’ve played in in the past.”

The fixture was played out at the home of Preston Grasshoppers, with Abi being the only back for England to play the full 70 minutes.

Abi became the first Oswestry player to represent England, something she said is really pleasing to do.

“I walked into the changing rooms and saw my kit all laid out with a name badge on the top,” she said.

“It got very real very quickly once I saw that.

“It does feel quite cool to know I’m the first person at the club who has been given the opportunity to represent England.

“There’s another selection camp coming soon for the upcoming Wales game in Cardiff so I’ll be hoping I can do enough to get in soon.”

Abi’s mum, Mary-Lou Kershaw, said she couldn’t be prouder of her daughter for achieving what she has so far, and hopes she is the first of many Oswestry youngsters to represent their country going forward.

“I’m so so proud of her,” she said.

“I’m really pleased because it has been quite a hard road to get to the level she’s at now – rugby is in some ways still quite a sexist sport.

“When Abi started out, she had to play in the boys’ team at the age of seven.

“Abi and her sister moved into the full contact boys’ team at the age of nine and because they are both quite small, they got quite hammered.

“Their coaches used to love them because they weren’t scared to run forward.

“When they got to year 7, they couldn’t play for the boys’ team anymore, so they had to travel to Manchester to play.

“Now, the club here has a massive girls’ section and there are so many little girls coming through the years.

“To see there’s that opportunity for the young girls around here now is fantastic.

“Having a club so local which allows girls to start playing at such a young age inspires loyalty.

“It’s their club, and they know they can play from the age of seven through to adulthood if they want to.”

Abi will attend another selection camp in an attempt to make the squad for a fixture against Wales in Cardiff next month.