Source: INPHO

Middleton names Red Roses team to face Black Ferns in Rotorua

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Simon Middleton has named his matchday 23 as the top two teams in the world prepare to go head-to-head in the final Test of the International Women’s Rugby Series.
The Red Roses face their third and final Test in New Zealand on Saturday 17 June when they take on the Black Ferns in Rotorua International Stadium (KO 5:15am BST, live on Sky Sports 2).

Middleton has made seven changes to the team that lined up against Canada, with the starting 15 totalling an impressive 850 caps and a bench with 308 starts between them.

The Red Roses are two from two so far in the series having beaten Australia 10-53 in Wellington and a hard fought 20-27 victory over Canada in Christchurch.  The Black Ferns are also undefeated in the Series, overcoming Canada 28-16 and Australia 44-17.

Lichfield scrum half Natasha Hunt starts alongside Bristol full back Danielle Waterman who makes her 70th international appearance, having made her England debut in 2003.

In the scrum, Sarah Bern (Bristol) who earned her first international start against Australia returns to the front row with prop Justine Lucas (Lichfield) on the bench. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) starts at lock with Alex Matthews (Richmond) in at blindside flanker.

Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) who captained the Red Roses side in their victorious opening game against Australia, starts at fly half with Rachael Burford (Aylesford Bulls), who assisted in three of England’s nine tries against Australia at inside centre.  Try scorer Kay Wilson (Richmond) who came off the bench against Canada, starts on the left wing.

Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), who scored a try against the Black Ferns in the Old Mutual Wealth Series in 2016 joins La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Amber Reed (Bristol) and Emily Scott (Saracens) on the bench.

England Women head coach Simon Middleton said: “This series has allowed us to test ourselves against the best teams in the world. Coming into the final Test, it’s now about making sure we deliver and don’t leave anything on the field. It’s our last big game and opportunity to put in a good performance before we head back to England and focus on final preparations for the Women’s Rugby World Cup and we want to make it count.

“The game against the Black Ferns will be a major challenge and one that we want to face head on, we want the players to go out an express themselves and show what they are capable of.

“We have full confidence in our squad and looking at final selection for this game, it’s a good blend of experience and younger players. We are looking forward to a big performance against the Black Ferns.”

England last played Black Ferns in the Old Mutual Wealth Series in 2016, where the Black Ferns beat the Red Roses 20-25 at The Twickenham Stoop.

England match-day 23 against New Zealand, International Women’s Rugby Series

15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol, 69 caps)
14 Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries, 33 caps)
13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, 68 caps)
12 Rachael Burford (Aylesford Bulls, 66 caps)
11 Kay Wilson (Richmond, 44 caps)
10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 85 caps)
9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield, 36 caps)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries, 123 caps)
2 Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 27 caps)
3 Sarah Bern (Bristol, 10 caps)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 104 caps)
5 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 16 caps)
6 Alex Matthews (Richmond, 31 caps)
7 Marlie Packer (Bristol, 46 caps)
8 Sarah Hunter (c) (Bristol, 92 caps)

16 Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 61 caps)
17 Vickii Cornborough (Aylesford Bulls, 25 caps)
18 Justine Lucas (Lichfield, 21 caps)
19 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 45 caps)
20 Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol, 31 caps)
21 La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 65 caps)
22 Amber Reed (Bristol, 38 caps)
23 Emily Scott (Saracans, 22 caps)

England Women fixtures, International Women’s Rugby Series

Australia 10 – 53 England
Friday 9 June, Porirua Park,Wellington

Canada 20 – 27 England Women
Tuesday 13 June, Rugby Park, Christchurch

Saturday 17 June – Rotorua International Stadium (KO 5.15am BST, live on Sky Sports 2)
New Zealand v England Women

Report courtesy of England Rugby