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England Women make nine changes for series finale

02 December 2011

  • Nine changes for final match against New Zealand at Esher
  • Gary Street's side looking for series whitewash over world champions
England's Emily Scarratt offloads possession during the 10-0 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham

Photo: Getty Images

England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street has made nine changes, two of which are positional, for Saturday’s final match against New Zealand at Esher RFC, kick off 2pm.

The third match in the series against the world champions is being streamed live on RFU.com and coverage starts at 1.45pm.

Bristol’s Sophie Hemming returns to the starting line-up at tight-head prop while Sarah Hunter and vice-captain Margaret Alphonsi, who is set to make her 60th appearance for England, return to the backrow. Alexandra Matthews, 18, who has registered two strong performances for England since making her debut against France earlier this month, moves to blind-side flanker.

In the backs, La Toya Mason, Katherine Merchant and Emily Scarratt all return while Alice Richardson will play her first game of the series.  Darlington Mowden Park Sharks fly half Katy McLean will captain England on the occasion of her 50th cap.

"This is the strongest available 22 I have and I am determined that we will finish this series as strong as possible," said Street. "The players have been fantastic so far but they need to continue to improve which is something that has been our statement of intent since losing the Rugby World Cup final 14 months ago.

England flanker Maggie Alphonsi crashes over for the only try during the 10-0 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham

Photo: Getty Images

"I would also like to congratulate Katy and Maggie for reaching these significant milestones in their rugby careers. Reaching 50 and 60 caps for your country is an amazing achievement and hopefully for us it is a good omen too.

"The last time our captain, then Catherine Spencer, reached 50 caps, she led England to victory over New Zealand and while Maggie ties in her 60th cap I’m sure we’ll see another great performance from our team leaders."

England have made history in defeating the world champions in back-to-back games after Saturday’s 10-0 victory and Tuesday’s dominant 21-7 win. Saturday also represented the first time the Black Ferns have ever been nilled.

"New Zealand are a hugely competitive rugby country and I have no doubt that they will be chomping at the bit to take a win in the last game of this series," added Street. "This will be a massively physical match in every department."

England Women

15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
13 Rachael Burford (Richmond)
12 Alice Richardson (Richmond)
11 Kay Wilson (Bristol)
10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (C)
9 La Toya Mason (Wasps)
1 Claire Purdy (Wasps)
2 Amy Turner (Richmond)
3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
6 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens) (VC)
8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)

Replacements:

16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
17 Laura Keates (Worcester)
18 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)  
19 Marlie Packer (Bristol)
20 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
21 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol)
22 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)

England Autumn International Series

Nov 26: England v New Zealand, Twickenham Stadium, Won 10-0

Nov 29: England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, KO 7pm, Won 21-7

Dec 3: England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, 2pm, live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive

Tickets for the international at Esher RFC on December 3 will be available on the gate and cost £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. They can also be purchased in advance at www.esherrugby.com