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Hunter captains Middleton’s World Cup squad as Hunt misses out

Hunter captains Middleton’s World Cup squad as Hunt misses out

Sarah Hunter has been named England captain for next month’s World Cup but Natasha Hunt has been left out of Simon Middleton’s final squad.

The scrum-half started the 2017 final in which New Zealand triumphed over England to secure their fifth title, but will not be on the plane.

As expected, Hunter is named captain of the 32-player group and is bidding to win her second World Cup after being part of the victorious 2014 squad.

A total of 19 members are travelling to New Zealand for their very first World Cup and head coach Middleton admitted he had some tough decisions to make to trim the group.

He said: “First and foremost, I would like to start by acknowledging those who have missed out on selection. There is not one single player in the wider squad who hasn’t given their all.

“Nobody has given less than their absolute best, they should be proud of their efforts throughout the team’s campaign to date.

“If between now and the tournament, or during the World Cup, we have to call anyone up, we can do it with 100% confidence that we are bringing a top player in.

“I would like to say a huge congratulations to those who have made the squad.

“To earn selection means you have done some special things and you have been outstanding in your application to training and performances.

“We are really confident with the balance of the squad. I am pleased with the way the team is gelling and how our game is coming together.

“There is still plenty to work on, we expect to improve game-on-game.”

He also highlighted his skipper as the Red Roses look to match their successes in 1994 and 2014.

“While this is a squad announcement and not about singling out individuals, it would be remiss not to reference our captain, Sarah Hunter,” said Middleton.

“Sarah is a better captain now than she has ever been. She has owned the captaincy and how she represents the squad on and off the field is absolutely brilliant.

“When you work with someone for so long you sometimes need to remind yourself of her outstanding attributes, she is unbelievable in how she conducts herself.

“Her pride in and love of representing her country is as strong as ever. She is a class act and we are very fortunate to have her leading the side at this tournament.”

The Red Roses, who are ranked number one in the world, face Fiji in their opening pool C game in Auckland on 8 October before taking on France the following Saturday. After their trip to Whangare,i they return to Auckland for their final pool fixture against South Africa on Sunday 23 October.

England squad for Rugby World Cup 2021

Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 32 caps)
Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 46 caps)
Hannah Botterman (Saracens, 30 caps)
Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins, 27 caps)
Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 57 caps)
Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 64 caps)
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 70 caps)
Lark Davies (Bristol Bears, 41 caps)
Rosie Galligan (Harlequins, 7 caps)
Sarah Hunter (C; Loughborough Lightning, 135 caps)
Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 4 caps)
Laura Keates (University of Worcester Warriors, 62 caps)
Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 51 caps)
Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 11 caps)
Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 20 caps)
Marlie Packer (Saracens, 84 caps)
Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury, 5 caps)
Morwenna Talling (Loughborough Lightning, 4 caps)
Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears, 56 caps)

Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 10 caps)
Jess Breach (Saracens, 23 caps)
Abby Dow (Wasps, 24 caps)
Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 40 caps)
Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 5 caps)
Leanne Infante (Saracens, 52 caps)
Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 25 caps)
Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs, 20 caps)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 42 caps)
Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 5 caps)
Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 5 caps)
Emily Scarratt (VC; Loughborough Lightning, 103 caps)
Lydia Thompson (University of Worcester Warriors, 54 caps)