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Former Ellingham & Ringwood player Maude is a rising rugby star

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FORMER Ellingham and Ringwood scrum-half Alicia Maude looks set to become the club’s latest player to break into the senior international rugby fold.

The 18-year-old, who went to Burley Primary School and Ringwood Academy, has played for England U18s and was selected for the England U20s’ USA tour last year.

Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled due to Covid-19, but Alicia is still part of the squad and is hopeful of being selected for the upcoming U20s internationals.

Alicia Maude (picture: Lauren Couchman/LNC Images) (45966604)
Alicia Maude (picture: Lauren Couchman/LNC Images) (45966604)

Maude looks to follow in the footsteps of former-Ellingham and Ringwood players, sisters Poppy and Bryony Cleall, who both play for Saracens and are full England internationals, and Lisa Cockburn, who is a full Scottish international.

Affectionately known as Stumpy, she played for Ellingham and Ringwood from six years old where she competed and trained with boys until she was 11. She represented the club at all age groups up to the U18s, and the Hampshire U15s at the earliest age possible before being selected for London & South East Divisional U15s while still 14 years old.

Her father and coach at E&R, Colin Searle, said: “I’m immensely proud of Alicia. She first began playing rugby with her stepbrother. They both played in the same team together up to 11, when boys and girls are separated.

“Alicia was the only girl in the team, but it was clear she was one of the stand-out young players. Alicia was quick and nimble but also very strong. Although she was always one of the smallest, it was clear that she played with no fear.

“In training, this regularly included her brother who was one of the bigger players in the squad. I think the fact that they always played competitively together helped Alicia develop this no-fear approach.”

Alicia Maude in her England kit (picture: Lauren Couchman/LNC Images) (45966596)
Alicia Maude in her England kit (picture: Lauren Couchman/LNC Images) (45966596)

Maude currently plays for Premier 15s side Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s where she is an understudy to England Women’s international scrum-half Mo Hunt who has 41 caps.

She played for the winning England U18s sevens squad at the 2019 Home Nations Rugby 7s competition in August 2019. In September that year, she played in the European Cup in Poland, where England were eventual runners up to France.

According to her father, Maude consistently outperforms her peers, despite being two or three years younger and nearly always smaller. “She was always one of the best and was sport-obsessed. She quickly became exceptionally fit.

“Alicia always wanted to practise, and trained harder than any other player I have known.”

The rugby ace is currently studying a BSc. (Hons) degree in Canine Performance & Training at Hartpury University in Gloucestershire while working to progress her rugby career.

Despite playing at the highest level, there is little financial support for aspiring young female rugby players. Therefore, many players seek sponsorship – for more details about sponsorship opportunities email colin_searle@sky.com

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