First Quilter Autumn International – Allianz Park 9 November 2018
Simon Middleton has announced the following England Squad:
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens)
14. Lydia Thompson (Valkyries)
13. Carys Williams (Lightning)*
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury)*
11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Lightning)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins)
1. Ellena Perry (Saracens)*
2. Lark Davies (Valkyries)
3. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins)
4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury)
5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins) Captain
6. Jo Brown (Lightning)
7. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens)
8. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo)*
16. Heather Kerr (DMP)
17. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins)
18. Hannah Botterman (Saracens)
19. Catherine O’Donnell (Lightning)
20. Sarah Hunter (Lightning)
21. Claudia Macdonald (Wasps)*
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens)
23. Lucy Attwood (Bristol Bears, uncapped)*
* = uncapped
It’s rare for a Red Roses game to be outshone by an international elsewhere, but modesty insists that the Big Game is taking place in Toulon between France and New Zealand the same evening. The nations ranked third and first in the world have two contests lined up and the Black Ferns arrived so early you might suspect they are taking the challenge extremely seriously.
But all English eyes will be turning to Hendon in north-west London.
Three weeks ago I wrote: It won’t be at all easy for Simon Middleton and his colleagues to pick the three sides to meet the USA, Canada and Ireland, to assess their relative strengths. That changed abruptly when the Black Ferns demolished the Eagles (67-6) in Chicago Now he knew he could safely pitch a squadron of his most promising debutants out first time. Of course there are still risks, for example two props playing their first international in the engine-room. Ellena Perry has impressed at loose-head for champions Saracens and the England U20s; Shaunagh Brown’s shift from No 6 to No 3 is a fascinating option that may or may not be long-term. The Red Roses are so blessed with back-rowers that there may be sense in the move. But Brown has been in devastating form on the blind-side.
And we wouldn’t see two uncapped centres (Carys Williams and Tatyana Heard) operating together if there were worries about the opposition midfield. All the same we shouldn’t forget the problems that Alev Kelter and friends posed England in Dublin last August.
At last Katy Daley-Mclean can gain her 100th cap. Her 99th came on 10 March – quite a wait. It’s hard to imagine where England would have been over the last many years without her input. So we can expect to see two centurions on the pitch at the same time – Sarah Hunter is likely to appear sooner rather than later. Are our standards slipping? Last autumn we had three of these rarest of creatures on the field at the same time!
The management have awarded the captaincy to Abbie Scott. This is a richly deserved accolade. Her place in the England side is secure; she retains the highest standards in every match she plays and is very much a leader.
All The Roses’ supporters must be hoping that at least a few of the new faces turn from eager hopefuls into ‘first names on the list’ over the coming seasons. They have already shown huge talent in the Tyrrells league; let’s hope it transfers seamlessly into this higher level.
As for the other fixture: the two nations have met only four times before, the French yet to gain a victory. At national level the FFR has taken a huge gamble in reshaping their Top 8 into a Top 16, but they have a galaxy of highly talented players at their disposal, including a few who are doubling up on the 7’s tour (a luxury the RFU denies itself).
They have been preparing thoroughly, mixing serious hard work with Gallic humour. They know the size of the challenge and are probably in a better position to meet it than ever before.
The match kicks off at 21.00 local time. Could that be favourable to the visitors who stopped over in Chicago on their way to France?
Games between France and NZ:
1996 Edmonton 0-109
2002 Barcelona 0-30
2006 Edmonton 10-40
2010 Stoop 7-45
|1. Megan Rom||Prop||Life University||
|2. Joanna Kitlinski||Hooker||Glendale Merlins||
|3. Catie Benson||Prop||Life West Gladiatrix||
|4. Stacey Bridges||Lock||Beantown Rugby||
|5. Alycia Washington||Lock||New York Rugby||
|6. Rachel Johnson||Flanker||Oregon Sports Rugby||
|7. Kate Zackary (C)||Flanker||San Diego Surfers||
|8. Jordan Gray-Matyas||No. 8||Women’s Sevens Residency||
|9. Anna Karen Pedraza||Scrumhalf||Lindenwood University||
|10. Gabby Cantorna||Flyhalf||Glendale Merlins||
|11. Sarah Levy*||Wing||New York Rugby||
|12. McKenzie Hawkins||Center||Lindenwood University||
|13. Emily Henrich||Center||Dartmouth College||
|14. Kelsi Stockert||Wing||Women’s Sevens Residency||
|15. Kaitlyn Broughton||Fullback||Atlanta Harlequins||
|16. Joyce Taufa||Reserve||Lindenwood University||1|
|17. Azniv Nalbandian||Reserve||Penn State University||1|
|18. Nick James||Reserve||Houston Athletic||4|
|19. Melissa Finkelstein*||Reserve||Glendale Merlins||0|
|20. Kristine Sommer||Reserve||Harlequins (ENG) / Seattle Saracens||5|
|21. Nikki Kenyon||Reserve||Women’s Sevens Residency / Life West Gladiatrix||1|
|22. Megan Foster||Reserve||San Diego Surfers||4|
|23. Jennine Duncan*||Reserve||Seattle Saracens||0|
Head Coach | Rob Cain