Source: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

New Faces Revue

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The Red Roses and the Maple Leafs teams announced

Simon Middleton welcomes two more new faces to the Red Rose community.

Heather Cowell and Sadia Kabeya will start against Canada at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday. This is due reward for players who have taken very different routes to international recognition: Cowell, the prolific try-scorer who transferred late from other athletic pursuits especially gymnastics; and Kabeya who has risen fast through the ranks of Streatham-Croydon, Richmond, Wasps and now Lightning, where she plays under the watchful eye of her fellow flanker and captain, Sarah Hunter.

That is the next significant feature of this team. Hunter returns but starts on the flank. Poppy Cleall reverts to the vice-captaincy but keeps her position as No 8.

You can view the rest of the choices under the heading ‘rotation’, but the presence of Harriet Millar-Mills and Alex Matthews on the bench is a reminder of the value Middleton places on versatility.

Abbie Ward and Cleall are both in line for their 50th cap, a tribute to two outstanding players.

The Squad:
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 38 caps)
14. Heather Cowell (Harlequins, uncapped)
13. Lagi Tuima (Harlequins, 10 caps)
12. Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 8 caps)
11. Abby Dow (Wasps, 20 caps)
10. Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 32 caps)
9. Claudia MacDonald (Wasps, 17 caps)
1. Hannah Botterman (Saracens, 24 caps)
2. Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 59 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 38 caps)
4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 26 caps)
5. Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears, 49 caps)
6. Sarah Hunter (captain; Loughborough Lightning, 128 caps)
7. Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, uncapped)
8. Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 49 caps)

16. Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 33 caps)
17. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 62 caps)
18. Maud Muir (Wasps, 2 caps)
19. Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps, 64 caps)
20. Alex Matthews (Worcester Warriors, 43 caps)
21. Marlie Packer (Saracens, 78 caps)
22. Leanne Infante (Bristol Bears, 46 caps)
23. Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 2 caps)


Sandro Fiorino has announced his team to face England (see below).

The long-term captain, Laura Russell, again gives way to Emily Tuttosi at hooker. This reflects the difficulties the Maple Leafs have experienced during lockdown in getting regular competitive rugby. Several elite players took the opportunity to come over to play in England or France.

They are well aware of the challenge facing them, but know that they can now put in a performance to surpass the Black Ferns’ efforts of the past fortnight.

They went into training at Reading Rams’ ground soon after landing in London. In addition to the group that played the USA recently, Elissa Alarie, Alysha Corrigan, Pamphinette Buisa, Fabiola Forteza and Sara Svoboda have joined the tour party. But they are handicapped by the absence of Sophie de Goede and Mikiela Nelson, who were unable to make the trip.

Olivia DeMerchant leads the side as she did in Glendale.

The Maple Leafs Squad:

1. Olivia DeMerchant (captain, Exeter Chiefs/Halifax Tars RFC)
2. Emily Tuttosi (Exeter Chiefs)
3. DaLeaka Menin (Exeter Chiefs)
4. Emma Taylor (Halifax)
5. Courtney Holtkamp (Red Deer Titans)
6. Fabiola Forteza (Club de Rugby de Quebec/Stade Bordelais)
7. Karen Paquin (Club de Rugby de Quebec/Stade Bordelais)
8. Gabrielle Senft (Castaway Wanderers/University of Victoria Vikes)
9. Brianna Miller (Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC)
10. Emily Belchos de Goede (Westshore RFC)
11. Paige Farries (Worcester Warriors/Westshore RFC)
12. Alexandra Tessier (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC)
13. Sara Kaljuvee (Toronto Scottish/University of Victoria Vikes)
14. Sabrina Poulin (Town of Mount Royal Rugby/Stade Rennais)
15. Elissa Alarie (Westshore RFC/Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Braves de Trois-Rivières)

16. Laura Russell (Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC)
17. Brittany Kassil (Guelph Redcoats)
18. Alex Ellis (Barrhaven Scottish/Saracens)
19. Tyson Beukeboom (Cowichan RFC)
20. Pamphinette Buisa (Canada Women’s 7’s/Ottawa Irish)
21. Laetitia Royer (Lons Section Paloise/St-Anne-de-Bellevue)
22. Justine Pelletier (Stade Bordelais/Club de Rugby de Quebec)
23. Renee Gonzalez (Westshore RFC/University of Victoria Vikes)