Name: Danielle Waterman
There are not many athletes who can boast a sporting CV like Danielle Waterman. Danielle, also known as Nolli Waterman, is a Rugby World Cup winner and one of England’s and GB’s Sevens leading lights.
With her years of rugby experience and sheer awe inspiring talent on a rugby pitch, it was no surprise when she made history by becoming one of just 12 players to be named in the first ever Team GB Rugby Sevens squad to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Sadly, Team GB just missed out on a medial, losing to Canada in the fight for bronze but Team GB’s and Nolli’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed as Rugby Sevens captured the heart of a nation.
Nolli’s exploits also include scoring the opening try in the 2014 Rugby World Cup Final, which saw England go on to be crowned world champions for the first time in 20 years.
She also competed in the 2010 and 2006 Rugby World Cups where England finished second, and has been nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year and IRPA Try of the Year awards alongside other greats from the international men’s and women’s game.
When Nolli made her debut in 2003 she also became the youngest ever player to be capped by England at 18-years-old. Fast-forward 11 years and the 30-year-old also became one of just one 20 players to be awarded a professional playing contract for the first time ever in 2014. With England now looking to defend their RWC title in 2017, there is still a lot to come from Nolli Waterman.
Nolli grew up in the small seaside town of Minehead in Somerset, before moving to New Zealand when she was just five. That was when rugby really took hold of her, as she was one of a few girls who took on the boys in the game at Palmerston North High School. Rugby was always in Nolli’s blood though, with her Dad a Bath Rugby legend, having played over 400 games for the West Country giants in the 1970s, while her brothers, Joe and Sam, also played county level rugby for Somerset.
On Nolli’s return from New Zealand, she continued to be one of few girls playing rugby, this time playing with the boys at Minehead Barbarians, a club she still has close ties with, before her rugby career became more serious and she was spotted by England as a teenager.
Alongside her own rugby career, Nolli has always tried to give back to Rugby while promoting the values of the sport. She has worked as an athlete mentor for Sporting Champions and the Youth Sports Trust. Nolli uses her personal experiences and the challenges she’s faced during her sporting journey, as a way to help inspire and engage young people and promote confidence to succeed.