Feature Interview | Marlie Packer
Grand Slam winning captain, WXV winning captain, contract extension in North London and now, World 15s Player of the Year. It’s been some 12 months for Saracens co-captain Marlie Packer.
The back row forward has been imperious in club and international colours in the last 12 months and leading up to a home World Cup in 2025, she shows no signs of slowing down.
Winning the World Player of the Year award was the icing on the cake for Packer’s incredible 2023 and an achievement that she admits that she hadn’t ever set her sights on winning the accolade, explaining that family and her son Oliver had been her driving factors.
“It means everything. There was probably a point when I thought I’d never win an award like that. I spoke to Alex (Austerberry) a few years ago and decided that the focus was on trying to get to 100 England caps and reaching that home world cup. I never expected to win the award, but it’s also something I couldn’t have done without the team around me at Saracens, with England and my family. My friends and family are a massive support, but Oliver has also been a massive switch for me. He’s made me the player that I am today.”
Packer also had the honour of captaining England at StoneX against Canada earlier this year and she was quick to credit the noise that the North London faithful created when she led her side out onto the pitch ahead of the national anthems.
“Getting a win at StoneX with the home fans was amazing. I loved being back at home and the atmosphere as incredible in a tight game. You could really feel them behind us.”
It’s been non-stop for Packer since returning to club colours. Four tries in four games tells you everything you need to know about Packer’s appetite to succeed this season. A stalwart off and on the pitch, she is a player who leads from the front with her actions and her words.
It’s not just been Packer who’s been on song at the start of the season though, with the co-captain praising her teammates performances so far.
“It’s been a great start, and everybody has gelled really well. The league isn’t won in the early part of the season though and we need to keep our focus in the next few weeks.”
Packer also praised the Sarries faithful who have cheered her side on home and away so far this season in great numbers.
“We could really feel them when we were at home against Loughborough. To have that crowd here at StoneX was amazing. They are always our 16th player whenever we play and we know they will be with us every step of the way again this year.”