‘Everything I dreamt of’ as centurion Katy Daley-McLean celebrates England milestone in style

England's Katy Daley-McLean takes the applause of the crowd upon winning her 100th cap for England d

England's Katy Daley-McLean takes the applause of the crowd upon winning her 100th cap for England during the Quilter International match at Allianz Park, London. Picture: ADAM DAVY/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Katy Daley-McLean said “it was everything I dreamt of” after collecting her 100th cap in England’s 57-5 demolition of USA.

The 32-year-old made the customary walk ahead of her team-mates to the acclaim of the Allianz Park crowd accompanied by her sister and niece.

And it was that which added extra sugar to an already special moment.

“Who would have thought a girl from South Shields would win 100 caps for England”, she beamed.

“I’d been really lucky because I seen my sister and my niece before so I’d already had a bottom-lip wobble and a tear.

“So when we walked out it was just one of sheer excitement.

“It’s been a long time to sit on 99 and you never know in our sport if you’re going to make it so to have them along side me was really lovely.

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“It was everything I dreamt of since that last game.

“It was lovely to have the reception from the crowd and I had a lot of advice from a lot of people like Tamara Taylor saying ‘just have a moment to enjoy it’.

“So that was when I thought about the 100 caps.”

And she capped the perfect day with five conversions and a try, ran in from just inside her own half.

“I didn’t realise when the ball hit my hands just how far away I was,” she laughed. “It was just a case of running as fast as I can and hopefully sliding across the line.

“I don’t get many, I’ve only got about 12 in those 100 caps so to get one tonight was pretty cool.”

The fly-half has come a long way from playing with Westoe Rugby Club’s juniors, and it is a journey that has been mirrored by the sport itself.

She said: “The game and everything around it has changed phenomenally.

“When I got my first cap there was 150 people in OAs and now we’re playing in front of 3,336 at Allianz Park and we’re live on Sky.

“Its done so well and I think that’s the beauty for women’s sport now.

“There’s none of this mediocre stuff. We’re putting in the hours to be professional and actually the media coverage and everything else is coming with it.

“You hope in 10 years time we’ll be filling this place out.”

The game itself was notable for a red card to USA prop Megan Rom after just 15 minutes of play.

That was for use of a forearm and Daley-McLean admitted to having a little bit of sympathy for the USA girl.

She said: “Nobody ever wants cards in that situation but the referee has gone to the TMO and made a decision that she thinks is appropriate.

“Even so it was a tough game and fair play to USA, they never gave up in conditions that probably suited no-one.”

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