Nine players to watch out for in the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations

Poppy Cleall 14/11/2021
The stage is set for the biggest and best TikTok Women’s Six Nations yet in 2022 as the Championship returns to its traditional format while also retaining its own dedicated window.

The stage is set for the biggest and best TikTok Women’s Six Nations yet in 2022 as the Championship returns to its traditional format while also retaining its own dedicated window.

With a first ever title partner on board, the 2022 Championship will see the return of many of its star names, as a powerful England side looks to lift the trophy for the fourth year running.

France are expected to be their closest challengers, but there is the added intrigue of Wales taking part with full-time professional players in their midst for the first time.

Every year brings guarantees of new names emerging, but here are some established players to look out for in the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations, which begins on Saturday, 26 March.

Poppy Cleall (England)

It took until Poppy Cleall’s 50th cap for England for her grandma to watch her live, but everyone else’s eyes had been on her for some time.

The 29-year-old was named the 2021 Women’s Six Nations Player of the Tournament after two player-of-the-match performances, including against France in the final.

The No.8, who is just as impactful in the flanker position, scored the only try of the showpiece to ensure England won their third title in a row as she made more carries (41) than anyone else in the Championship.

Laure Sansus (France)

With Pauline Bourdon injured, scrum-half Laure Sansus will take on even greater importance.

It says a lot that she has at times kept Bourdon out of the team, starting ahead of her fellow No.9 in France’s narrow Championship final defeat to England last year.

She was also among the scorers in the first of France’s two wins over New Zealand in the autumn and her sniping runs will be a threat for every opponent during the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

Emma Wassell (Scotland)

Emma Wassell’s name is likely the first on Scotland’s teamsheet because it has been on every one of Scotland’s last 52.

The lock made her debut for Scotland in the 2014 Championship and has not missed a game since, even as she balances rugby with a full-time role as an accountant.

The 27-year-old played well in helping the Scots to a fifth-place finish last year, scoring in the defeat against Italy and was on target in the lineout as Scotland beat Wales in the 5th/6th place play-off for their first home win in four years.

Jasmine Joyce (Wales)

Lightning-fast winger Jasmine has made a name for herself on the World Rugby Sevens circuit but is just as comfortable running head-on at 15 defenceless opponents.

She combines pace and agility to leave all in her wake and, having accepted one of the 12 first full-time contracts for Wales, she is likely only to get better.

Joyce scored twice against Japan in the autumn as she made her return to the 15s set-up, something that bodes well for Wales, who finished bottom last time out.

Helena Rowland (England)

Young fly-half Helena Rowland was one of the breakout stars for England in 2021 and has quickly become an important player in a team full of attacking threats.

The 22-year-old played rugby sevens during her formative years, but has made a huge success of transitioning back to the 15-a-side game since joining Loughborough Lightning in 2020.

Rowland made her Red Roses debut the same year as England completed the Grand Slam against Italy and her ability to ghost through defences and kick goals will make her a valuable asset.

Manuela Furlan (Italy)

One of the most experienced heads in the Italy squad, captain Manuela Furlan continues to be a key part of their setup in the back three.

The 33-year-old underlined her enduring importance to the Italians during the 2021 Women’s Six Nations when she scored a hat-trick in the 41-20 victory over Scotland that qualified her side for the 3rd/4th place play-off.

Furlan has won over 80 caps for her country since making her debut in 2009, with most of those coming at full-back, although she can be equally effective out on the wing.

Nichola Fryday (Ireland)

Ireland are entering a new era in the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations and despite being only 26 years old herself, lock Nichola Fryday is one of those trusted to guide the younger faces in the squad.

That Fryday is one of the most experienced members of the Irish squad, with 22 caps, tells you how much change their line-up is going under in the wake of them not qualifying for this year’s World Cup.

She will bring plenty of power from the second row that should help gain Ireland’s new-look back line good ball, while her recent signing for Exeter Chiefs can only have helped bring on her game further.

Caroline Drouin (France)

Fly-half Caroline Drouin is another player who starred in the rugby sevens tournament at the 2020 Olympics, as she helped France to a silver medal in Tokyo.

Drouin, 25, also pulled the strings in back-to-back victories for Les Bleues against world champions New Zealand during the autumn.

Inventive with the ball in hand, Drouin is also reliable with the boot, with her accurate goal kicking allowing her to be the top points scorer in Elite 1 this season with Stade Rennais.

Amy Cokayne (England)

Hooker Amy Cokayne – a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force – was part of an extremely successful autumn for England, as she scored a hat-trick in their record 56-15 victory against New Zealand.

The 25-year-old plays for English champions Harlequins and is primed to help earn the Red Roses even more success in the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

Cokayne has 60 caps to date for her country and her try-scoring has been an added bonus to her duties as a forward – she was even the second-top scorer in the 2017 Women’s Six Nations with five tries.