- England to take on Italy A in opener
- Crowley to skipper England A
The England Women’s A team to take on Italy A in the opening round of the European Trophy on Saturday in Corona, Spain, kick off 3pm BST, has been announced.
England A Head Coach Mike Barnett has named a strong line-up which includes six players who featured in this season’s winning RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Lichfield's Rosemarie Crowley will lead England against a tough Italian team, and she is joined in the starting line-up by England’s up and coming players Rowena Burnfield, Fran Matthews and Georgina Roberts. Wasps’ Michaela Staniford is also back in the starting line-up after returning from injury.
Barnett said: “We have picked an experienced team for the opening round of pool matches as we are expecting Italy to be one of the hardest opponents in the tournament. They are bringing nearly all their Six Nations squad, so you could say we are playing a full international side.
“We have included players such as Roz Crowley, Tamara Taylor, Sarah Hunter, Kim Oliver and Michaela Staniford who all have a lot of international experience. But we also have some young players in the mix who we are very excited to see play in this environment such as Marlie Packer, Sarah McKenna and Kay Wilson.”
England A kick off their European Trophy campaign on the back of a 34-7 victory over Spain last month and a 19-22 defeat to the Nomads, the women’s game’s version of the Barbarians, in February.
The European Trophy provides a punishing playing schedule with four games in seven days with England A playing Italy, the Netherlands and Russia in Pool B. Spain, Sweden, France and Finland will play in Pool A.
Barnett added: “It’s very important that we start the tournament with a win as we have three games in five days and it will be tough to comeback from a defeat and still make the final so we really want to hit the ground running with a good performance. All the players and management are very excited and raring to go for a tournament that we have been preparing for all this year.”
England team to face Italy A
15 Kay Wilson (Richmond)
14 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park)
12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol)
11 Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
10 Sarah McKenna (Old Albanians)
9 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield)
1 Rosemarie Crowley (C) (Lichfield)
2 Olivia Poore (Wasps)
3 Charlotte Male (Bristol)
4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park)
6 Marlie Packer (Bristol)
7 Jane Leonard (Wasps)
8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
17 Monica Lewinska (Bristol)
18 Stacey Maguire (Lichfield)
19 Isobel Noel Smith (Bristol)
20 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
21 Amber Reed (Bristol)
22 Natasha Jones (Lichfield)
Saturday, April 30 - Italy v England, KO 3pm BST
Monday, May 2 – Netherlands v England, KO 3pm BST
Wednesday, May 4 – Russia v England, KO 4pm BST
Saturday, May 7 – Finals Day, KO TBC