The Tori party comes to Parma

tori sellors wss
Learning all about England and Saracens scrum-half Tori Sellors, who’s competing at the Women’s Summer Series in Parma.

She’s got her own fan club. My family have all come out to Italy to support me. My mum has organised matching t-shirts for her, my dad, my two brothers and one of their girlfriends. My dad even caught a ball in the stands during our first game against Wales - he was so chuffed with himself! They all brought an atmosphere to the game and boosted the English side.

Her dad, David, knows how to make things happen. I was the only girl playing with the boys at Sevenoaks in Kent, and I did that until I was no longer able to. We didn’t have a girls section at the time, so my dad set one up by getting loads of the sisters involved. It meant I could continue playing and didn’t need to go miles and miles looking for another club, and my dad could coach us as he had done with the boys.

Sevenoaks Rugby Club is a special place for her. The people there are genuine and lovely, always wanting to help one another. It’s a really great environment, and the clubhouse itself is beautiful.

She moved away from home at 16. At first it was a bit daunting, but once you settle in it’s like you’re surrounded by your mates. They were two of the best years of my life, living with my friends at the college, being able to do elite sport with the rugby programme alongside my academics was ideal. It was a good thing for me.

Worcester Warriors folding was a difficult time. After it happened, it was a question of who’s going to be my new family? Where’s going to be my new home? And Saracens met the brief. I spoke with the head coach, Alex Austerberry, and all the girls were really welcoming when I came. I’ve flourished there. Sarah McKenna from Saracens is also out here coaching us, so that helps with the transition.

Rugby isn’t the only sport Tori excelled at. I did gymnastics when I was really young, but one of my friends did trampolining, so I thought I’d give it a go. I was doing that five or six times a week and ended up competing nationally. Handball was also part of the school games in Kent, and from playing there I joined a club and had regional training sessions. I got selected to go to Denmark as part of the England squad and joined the GB U17s pathway. But when time came to go to Hartpury, I had to make a decision about which sport I had to pick. I chose rugby.

It’s always exciting competing in a new country. Not many people get to do it, so it’s a privilege when you get to do something like this with the Women’s Summer Series. Rugby has taken me to France, Spain and now Italy. It’s been incredible so far. We haven’t got used to the heat just yet, but it’s really nice, and I’m loving the gelato! The whole concept of bringing all these nations together and seeing how we play against – and learn from - each other is really important.

I’m moving to Hertfordshire to be closer to Sarries. The commute was a bit too long. It means I’m also going to move university so I can focus more on my rugby. It’s all well and good to have rugby as my full-on career, but it’s always good to have a back-up. I enjoy doing my [sports therapy] degree and the helping people aspect, and learning more about myself and my sport.

Scoring a try against Ireland in round one was good, but Tori’s looking at the bigger picture. We’re just going to continue to build as a group and as a collective. We’re definitely tighter and we’re learning more about each other and playing to each other’s strengths a lot more. I’m just excited for what’s to come next.

Wales v England kicks off at 20:00 BST on Tuesday 9th July. Stream it live here.