North-East rugby hero Katy McLean to lead England at Darlington

ENGLAND STARS: Katy McLean and Tamara Taylor at The Northern Echo Arena
ENGLAND STARS: Katy McLean and Tamara Taylor at The Northern Echo Arena

TOP international rugby action in the region is just 48 hours away – and one of the big stars can’t wait.

North-East sporting hero Katy Mclean will skipper England in the RBS 6 Nations championship match with Scotland in Darlington.

I hope people from all over the region come along and enjoy the opportunity to see women’s rugby

KATY MCLEAN, England captain

It is part of a double header against the Scots with the Under 20 teams kicking off the evening at the Northern Echo Arena.

Durham girl Mclean will lead her country having regained the captain’s armband from friend and Darlington Mowden Park team-mate, Tamara Taylor.

Taylor, coach of Durham Northumberland Jarrovians, had taken charge of England in the opening two fixtures but now the World Cup-winning leader is back at the helm.

Hopes of a 6 Nations title are all but over but Mclean is excited by the fact that England are in the region.

She is guaranteed big support from her native South Shields as well as Sunderland, where she taught at Bexhill Academy before turning pro last year.

“It’s been phenomenal the reaction I’ve had – the amount of of people who’ve said ‘we’ll be there, you’d better be playing’ is amazing,” said the 29-year-old who was duly in the XV when the side was announced last night.

“We want as many people in this stadium as possible.

“I hope to see folk from Shields and Sunderland – I’ll be massively disappointed if there isn’t a banner!

“I’m really grateful for everyone back home who has helped me on my way and along the way, especially from the start at Westoe.

“But I hope people from all over the region come along and enjoy the opportunity to see women’s rugby.”

Mclean’s side are not the only world champs on show at the Northern Echo Arena.

Mowden Park’s impressive ground – the second biggest rugby stadium in the country behind Twickenham – will also showcase England U20, who won their version of the World Cup last year.

“We are really lucky Mowden have taken this stadium on,” staid the stand-off. “It’s a great venue.

“Just the fact that two international games are coming here on a Friday night is a testament to the ambition of the club.

“I hope the region buys into it because I think we can do something special here.

“I think we can really showcase the north.”

Tickets for the double header are only £10 (adults) and £5 (U16s). Group bookings and discounts are available. Contact (01325) 350267 for info.