England flanker Marlie Packer believes playing with a smile on her face has helped deliver her first nomination for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship award, writes Josh Graham.

Packer powered the Red Roses to a fourth straight Championship crown with four brilliant performances that yielded as many tries and assists, while she also topped the turnover and carry charts despite sitting out the trip to Italy in Round 2.

The 32-year-old from Yeovil began with a bang by scoring a hat-trick against Scotland in Round 1 and brought the curtain down on a stellar Championship with a typically industrious performance to help Simon Middleton’s side beat France 24-12 in the Grand Slam decider on Super Saturday.

Packer is joined on the shortlist by prop Sarah Bern after she dominated at scrum time and scored five tries for England, and her more experienced teammate suggested the secret to their combined success is down to enjoying their rugby.

Packer said: “It means everything. It’s the first time I’ve ever been up for this nomination, but I couldn’t do it without the rest of the team with me.

“It’s really cool to be with Berner, she’s such an amazing player as well. If either of us won it, I’d be super happy.

“I don’t think there will be any banter, we will just be really happy for one another if either of us won it.

“We have both had fantastic tournaments, we play with a smile on our face and we are enjoying it - that’s where our performances are coming from.

“A lot of hard work on and off the pitch, but we do everything with a smile.”


Packer is clearly of the belief that there is no substitute for bending your back and putting the grunt work in, something that started at her club Saracens and has helped her stay right at the peak of her form when it mattered most.

She added: “I’ve had really good club form for Saracens and we are top of the Allianz Premier 15s table. My form from that has come into the TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

“Then we’ve trained really hard as an England squad, we’ve had some really tough sessions together and just managed to stay in form, not get injured. I’ve had a really good tournament, so I’m super happy.

“When you are training and it’s hail stoning on you, no-one is watching and it’s absolutely tipping it down and freezing cold, winning the Grand Slam is one of the moments you are doing it for, to play in the big games and get wins like that [against France].”

Packer has relished the extra attention and eyes the addition of TikTok as a title sponsor has brought to this year’s Championship.

She said: “I think it was massive TikTok coming on board. This is my sixth Grand Slam and it’s the first time the medals have ever changed!

“There just seems to be a new aura and real buzz around it which is absolutely fantastic to showcase the women’s game, to get the coverage we’ve got and the amount of people that have been able to watch it is phenomenal.”

A relentless competitor, Packer gets great satisfaction from the fact the women’s game continues to cut through amid all the sporting noise, something the Championship’s dedicated window has accelerated as evidenced by the anecdote she was told by her nan.

Packer explained: “We’ve just come out of the shadow; people want to talk about it and see it.

“I was talking to my nan who went into a pub in Chard in Somerset where she lives for a bit of coffee and cake and some guys came in and one went, ‘Did you watch that women’s England game at the weekend? It was phenomenal!’

“She just sat there and chuckled, usually she’d go and say, ‘Oh my granddaughter plays for them,’ but I just think that is so nice to hear, it has been really good.”

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is more accessible than ever before. To find out how you can watch the Women’s Championship visit: womens.sixnationsrugby.com/tv/