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Middleton names 30-player England training squad for France

Simon Middleton

Simon Middleton stressed the importance of the Red Roses’ strength in depth after naming a 30-player training squad to prepare for this weekend’s autumn international against France.

England are fresh from securing back-to-back Grand Slams after defeating Italy 54-0 in their final game of the 2020 Women’s Six Nations to complete the clean sweep again.

They will now renew their rivalry with 2018 champions France in an autumn international double-header, starting with the opening Test in Grenoble on Saturday (kick-off 1.15pm GMT).

The group have re-assembled at Bisham Abbey today before flying to France and Middleton has named an initial training squad before announcing his matchday 23 on Thursday.

2014 World Cup winning prop Laura Keates is among those who has been selected following impressive performances in Worcester Warriors’ Premier 15s matches to date.

Wasps FC Ladies duo Abi Burton and Megan Jones have been training with the group since the start of the season and are once again included in the training squad.

Meanwhile, Sarah Bern, Lydia Thompson and Hannah Botterman are all ruled out for the trip to France after sustaining injuries in their Allianz Premier 15s weekend matches.

Middleton said: “We were absolutely delighted to win the Grand Slam in Italy.

“This is a group that’s trained really well and we’re pleased with how we’re progressing. Training is competitive and that was reflected in our performance over in Italy.

“Our focus now moves onto the game against France on Saturday. While we have a number of absentees, we have real strength-in-depth as shown in our training squad selection.

“We’re looking forward to two days of preparation before heading out to France later this week.”

Red Roses Training squad


Sarah Beckett (Harlequins Women, 18 caps)

Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women, 18 caps)

Abi Burton (Wasps FC Ladies, 0 caps)

Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 41 caps)

Amy Cokayne (Harlequins Women, 51 caps)

Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Women, 54 caps)

Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 26 caps)

Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 2 caps)

Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 123 caps)

Laura Keates (Worcester Warriors, 60 caps)

Heather Kerr (Wasps FC Ladies, 23 caps)

Alex Matthews (Worcester Warriors, 37 caps)

Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies, 56 caps)

Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 72 caps)

Morwenna Talling (Loughborough Lightning, 1 cap)

Abbie Ward (Harlequins Women, 43 caps)


Holly Aitchison (Saracens Women, 0 caps)

Jess Breach (Harlequins Women, 14 caps)

Katy Daley-Mclean (Sale Sharks Women, 115 caps)

Abby Dow (Wasps FC Ladies, 13 caps)

Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 24 caps)

Megan Jones (Wasps FC Ladies, 9 caps)

Ellie Kildunne (Wasps FC Ladies, 9 caps)

Claudia MacDonald (Wasps FC Ladies, 10 caps)

Amber Reed (Bristol Bears Women, 58 caps)

Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women, 37 caps)

Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 1 cap)

Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 90 caps)

Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury Women, 13 caps)

Lagi Tuima (Harlequins Women, 5 caps)