Source: Ryan Hiscott/JMP

The Dutch Team to meet Spain

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Sylke Haverkorn, Netherland’s head coach, has announced her squad to face Spain in Guadalajara on Saturday. The game is the last encounter of the Rugby Europe Championship, doubling as a World Cup qualifier.

The Netherlands Team:

15 Noa Donkersloot
14 Mireille Nieuwenhuis
13 Hiske Blom
12 Ouen Makkinga
11 Lieve Stallman
10 Jordan Heil
9 Marit Lemmens
1 Irene Jansen
2 Kendra Jonas
3 Nicky Dix
4 Judith Frinking
5 Inger Jongerius
6 Robin Zuiderhoek
7 Liza de Wild*
8 Linde van der Velden (captain)

16 Jara Bunnik*
17 Julia Morauw*
18 Merel van Kampen*
19 Michaja van Capel*
20 Tamara Stock
21 Dido Denier van der Gon*
22 Kim Dekker*
23 Flore Voogd*

The Dutch have suffered as grievously as anyone from the pandemic, which means they come into the game very short of practice. But Haverkorn has taken the opportunity to blood young players whom she expects to form the backbone of the Oranjes for years to come. One such is Julia Morauw who is the first to come through from the Under 18 squad established in 2019.

Several players flew back to Holland for the training sessions, most notably Linde van der Velden, who has made such a strong impression captaining Exeter Chiefs. Tamara Stock returns from Stade Rennais and four more have been playing for Spanish clubs.

Pien Selbeck, Haverkorn’s assistant, doesn’t hide the challenge that faces them; no internationals over the past year and very few the year before (†) mean they come undercooked to Spain. But it will be a great experience, giving hope for greater things in the future

Spain have won the European Championship five times running, which leaves them wondering when they might be readmitted to the Six Nations. They have little left to prove.

† 2019 v Hong Kong 12-14 and 0-18