Two local rugby union stars have been called up to the England women's training squad.

Maryport's Catherine O'Donnell and Keswick's Abbie Scott have both included in England Women's head coach Simon Middleton extended training squad to take part in a camp in Bisham Abbey this weekend.

They are among 43 players who will take part in a three-day training camp before Middleton selects a smaller squad to take part in two behind-closed-doors training games against South Africa.

The camp will provide a chance for the squad to come together for the first time following the Women's Rugby World Cup in August and begin preparations ahead of the Old Mutual Wealth Series that will see England play Canada in a three Test series.

Scott played her part in the World Cup but this is a chance for O'Donnell to shine, having previously represented her country at under-20 level.

Middleton said: "This year we are doing things differently and bringing together an extended training squad of 43 players with the objective being twofold.

"Firstly to allow us to select the strongest squad for the upcoming season and secondly give new talent invaluable playing opportunities as part of an international training team in games against South Africa.

"Off the back of the training camp and training games we’ll reduce the extended training squad numbers and name an EPS squad, who we feel is right for the upcoming season.

"We are really excited about the new, young players coming into camp for the first time. We know and have seen players in the past who have made unbelievable gains, when you get them in the right environment at the right time.

"In the long term we are working towards our objective to build and prepare a squad with real depth for the next Women's World Cup in 2021.
"We are confident these young players can, and will develop as the next generation of international players.

"It’s crucial we expose them to the international environment at an early stage as part of their development if we are to meet this objective.

"In the short term, we don’t want to go into a period of consolidation, we want to keep moving forward and keep winning."