England Women head coach Simon Middleton has named his match-day 23 ahead of the Red Roses’ first Test against Canada at Allianz Park on Friday 17 November (KO 19:30, live stream on Englandrugby.com).
Seven uncapped players have been included in the squad, with wingers Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies) and Abigail Dow (Wasps FC Ladies) named in the starting line-up. Caity Mattinson (Bristol Ladies), Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women), Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies) and Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women) are also set to make their international debuts this Friday off the bench.
In the backline, Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies) and Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) will play nine and ten while Danielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies) , who is set to earn her 75th cap, is named at full-back. World Cup finalists Amber Reed (Bristol Ladies) and Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies) form the centre partnership for the Red Roses.
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) and Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies) – who will play her 33rd consecutive Test for England – make up the front row. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC), who last featured for England against Canada in 2015, joins Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies) in the second row.
In the back row Marlie Packer (Saracens Women) joins Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women) who earns her first start for England at No.8 with captain Sarah Hunter named at blindside flanker.
Seasoned players Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies) and Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) are named as finishers alongside Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries) on the bench.
Simon Middleton said “Our priority is to win the series and keep our winning momentum going from last season. With selection we said from the outset we would pick on form, selecting players who are playing outstandingly well for their clubs. It’s a strong blend of youth and experience.
“I’m excited to see what the new, young players will bring win terms of their skill sets and pace. As a group they are very accomplished and have earned selection based on merit. That’s real testimony to the pathway, the U20s and the work they have been doing in their clubs. Alongside our more experienced players we know they will be given a great platform to play off and we have full confidence they will showcase their talents.
Middleton added “We have had some great matches with Canada and we are really looking forward to getting the series underway in what we know will be a tough and physical encounter.”
England has played Canada a total of 25 times, winning 21 of those, including the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup final. The two sides most recently met in Christchurch, New Zealand during the International Womens Rugby Series in June, with England securing a hard fought 27-20 win.
England Women match-day 23, Old Mutual Wealth Series 2017
*denotes uncapped player
15. Danielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies, 74 caps)
14. Abigail Dow* (Wasps FC Ladies, uncapped)
13. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies, 72 caps)
12. Amber Reed (Bristol Ladies, 44 caps)
11. Jess Breach* (Harlequins Ladies, uncapped)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 91 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 13 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 27 caps)
2. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 33 caps)
3. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 10 caps)
4. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 21 caps)
5. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC, 40 caps)
6. Sarah Hunter © (Loughborough Lightning, 98 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 51 caps)
8. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 15 caps)
16. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 3 caps)
17. Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies, 129 caps)
18. Hannah Botterman*(Saracens Women, uncapped)
19. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 109 caps)
20. Shaunagh Brown* (Harlequins Ladies, uncapped)
21. Caity Mattinson*(Bristol Ladies, uncapped)
22. Zoe Harrison * (Saracens Women, uncapped)
23. Ellie Kildunne *(Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC, uncapped)
Old Mutual Wealth Series 2017
17th November – Allianz Park (KO 19:30, live stream via Englandrugby.com)
England Women v Canada
Tickets available via Saracens website
21st November – Twickenham Stoop (KO 19:45, live Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix)
England Women v Canada
Tickets available via Englandrugby.com/tickets
25th November – Twickenham Stadium (KO 17:40, live Sky Sports Arena & Sky Sports Mix)
England Women v Canada
Report courtesy of the RFU