Danielle Waterman, widely known as ‘Nolli‘, is a former England rugby player.
The full-back and wing won 82 caps during a 15-year international career and scored 47 tries for England before retiring in 2018.
Nolli is a Rugby World Cup winner, has received nomination for World Player of the Year, and was one of just 12 players who made history by being named in the first ever Team GB Rugby Sevens squad to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Nolli made her full England debut in 2003, having spent three years developing in the Academy and “A” sides; captaining England A at the age of 17.
She became the youngest player, at the time, to be fully capped by England whilst studying her A levels at only 18-years-old; and is the longest standing current player.
Having competed in four Rugby World Cup’s and one 7s World Cup, Nolli Waterman has been part of a long journey with England Rugby.
In the 2006 and 2010 Rugby World Cups, the team placed second, and on a personal level in 2010 she received nomination for World Player of the Year and IRPA Try of the Year alongside other greats from the international men’s and women’s game.
Driven by the determination to go one better, Nolli and the team focused on improvement with both individual and team goals. They identified strengths and weaknesses both on and off the field, and worked to develop a strong team identity and culture. This focus helped lead the team to victory at the 2014 World Cup.
England Women’s Rugby received national recognition with a number of awards including the accolade of BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year.
Nolli grew up in Minehead, a small seaside town in Somerset, before moving to New Zealand at the age of five. This is where her passion for rugby flourished being one of the few girls that took on the boys in the game at Palmerston North High School Old Boys. However, rugby has always been in Nolli’s blood. Her father Jim, a Bath Rugby legend, is the fourth most capped player in their history, having played over 400 games for the West Country giants in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Upon Nolli’s return to England, she rejoined Minehead Barbarians, and was still one of a few girls playing mini rugby in the South West. She was forced to stop playing mixed rugby at the age of 12, but her rugby career was only just starting when she was spotted by England as a teenager. Having represented England at every level, coached professionally and returned from potential career ending injuries, Nolli really has experienced everything elite sport has to offer.
Following on her from experiences in education, Nolli now focuses a large amount of her time in mentoring young men and women at the RFU Centre of Excellence, which focuses on individual development, guiding young athletes to strive for continued improvement.
As well as being a professional rugby player, Nolli has made multiple appearances on our TV screens. She has often provided expert analysis and commentary for the likes of Sky Sports and England Rugby TV, while providing her professional opinion for media outlets such as the BBC.
Nolli Waterman is a brilliant, articulate and confident motivational speaker; she delivers interesting insights, coupled with excellent knowledge and expertise on the following themes:
• Life as one of the first ever professional female rugby players and the challenges that women face in a male dominated sport.
• Going for gold in Rio in the first year of female rugby in the Olympics.
• The success and failure in her rugby career, and dealing with the pressure of elite level sport.
• The power of communication: to building a winning mind-set and bringing out the best in people, through the psychology of relationships within a team to create a positive atmosphere.
• How all the skills she has gained on the rugby pitch can be transferred into everyday life.
• Individual development, striving for continued improvement and mentoring.