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Preview: England Women v Canada Women

Preview: England Women v Canada Women

England Women’s autumn campaign continues on Sunday in Doncaster when Canada are the visitors to Castle Park.

England Women’s autumn campaign continues on Sunday in Doncaster when Canada are the visitors to Castle Park.

The Red Roses kicked off their trio of autumn clashes last weekend when they took care of USA 54-5.

And while Ireland lie in wait in week three, first things first are the Canadians who need no second introduction.

England played the Canadians three times last autumn, claiming three successes in a row as they continue to build towards the 2021 World Cup.

After a Women’s Six Nations that saw Simon Middleton’s side edged out by France for the Grand Slam, this autumn is about continuing to bring through the next generation of talent.

And as a result, Middleton makes ten changes from the team that downed the USA at Allianz Park last week.

Sarah Hunter comes into the pack at No.8 and will captain the side while fly-half Katy Daley-McLean – who brought up 100 caps last weekend – drops to the bench.

Zoe Harrison comes in at No.10 in a backline that also sees Lucy Attwood make her first start in the centre alongside the experience of Rachael Burford.

Millie Wood comes onto the wing while Sarah McKenna and Kelly Smith complete the back three with Leanne Riley at No.9.

In the pack, Saracens duo Marlie Packer and Poppy Cleall bring their experience to the back row either side of Hunter while the engine room sees Catherin O’Donnell and Abbie Scott paired together.

Loosehead Vickii Cornborough packs down in the front row with Lark Davies at hooker and Hannah Botterman at tighthead.

England Women v Canada Women, Castle Park, Doncaster, Sunday 18 November, 14:00

What they said

Simon Middleton said: “From the outset, our intention for the Quilter Internationals was to give each of the selected squad of 28 players an opportunity to stake their claim within a Test match environment.

“The competition for places is really tough within the squad and that’s great to see. There were some excellent individual performances against the USA on Friday and I will expect to see the same on Sunday against Canada.

“We are really excited to play in Yorkshire and are looking forward to a great crowd and atmosphere at Castle Park on Sunday.”
Zoe Aldcroft, on the bench for England this weekend, added: “Women’s and girls’ rugby in Yorkshire is definitely growing. When I was young, there weren’t as many opportunities for girls, as I progressed to Under 15s and Under 18s, they were able to get a full team of XV out.  

“It has definitely developed, Scarborough have set up a women’s and girls’ teams. This game is going to help get people excited about women’s rugby.” 

 Key stat

Rachael Burford will make her 80th England appearance on Sunday – in an inexperienced backline that includes Millie Wood, Lucy Attwood, Kelly Smith and Zoe Harrison who only have 14 caps combined. 

Castle Park will also host the Red Roses much anticipated Six Nations fixture against Grand Slam holders France on Sunday 10 February.

England are up against Ireland at Twickenham in their third and final autumn game, after the men take on Australia.

England: 15. Sarah McKenna, 14. Millie Wood, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Rachael Burford, 11. Kelly Smith, 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Leanne Riley, 1. Vickii Cornborough, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Hannah Botterman, 4. Catherine O’Donnell, 5. Abbie Scott, 6. Poppy Cleall, 7. Marlie Packer, 8. Sarah Hunter

Replacements: 16. Heather Kerr, 17. Elllena Perry, 18. Shaunagh Brown, 19. Zoe Aldcroft, 20. Jo Brown, 21. Claudia Macdonald, 22. Kay Daley-Mclean, 23. Carys Williams