Keswick's Abbie Scott believes women’s rugby is “taking off” as Six Nations leaders England prepare to play host to Italy in front of a bumper crowd.

For this Saturday’s match, more than 9,700 tickets have been sold - doubling the previous record for a non-World Cup fixture - for the game at Exeter’s Sandy Park.

That shows the rise in interest in the sport and lock Scott, a former Keswick School and Sedbergh School student, said: “Sometimes, people are unaware there are games being staged, or even that there is international women’s rugby.

“It’s all about exposure. Once people come, they come back. You get such good feedback.

“Women’s rugby has gone up and up every year and we’re now putting on spectacles that any sports fan would want to watch.

"It’s taking off and, at the minute, I don’t see a ceiling for it.

“It’s exponential in terms of where it’s going to go to as a sport.”

Scott, who captained the Red Roses to a convincing victory in Wales in their last match in the tournament, has first-hand experience of how attitudes are changing.

“I got a really nice email from a young boy who’d attended a coaching camp I’d been at,” the 25-year-old, who is joined by Maryport’s Cath O’Donnell in England’s squad, told The Guardian.

“For International women’s day, he’d been asked to draw a picture of a really inspiring woman. He chose Abbie Scott, England Rugby. Little things like that are great.

“You do get the odd person recognising you but I’d like to think I look a bit different off the pitch when I’m not covered in mud!”

After their match against Italy this weekend, Simon Middleton’s team end their Six Nations campaign with a home match against Scotland at Twickenham on March 16.