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England Women ready to take on Nations Cup rivals

28 July 2011

  • Head Coach Gary Street looking to develop young squad
  • Brightmore, Fleetwood, Hunt, McKenna, Wilson and Keates new caps
England backs Emily Scarratt (foreground) and Michaela Staniford at England training

Photo: Getty Images

The Nations Cup for England’s Women kicks off next week and England Head Coach Gary Street says the reigning champions are ready for their next challenge.

Street, whose side finished second in the 2010 Rugby World Cup and scooped the 6 Nations title for a sixth successive season this term, is looking to blood several new players in the Nations Cup, which takes place in Ontario, Canada from August 2 – August 13.

Street has six new recruits in his 26-player squad, with Jenny Brightmore most recently called up to replace the injured flanker Heather Fisher. Victoria Fleetwood, Natasha Hunt, Sarah McKenna, Kay Wilson and Laura Keates are also all set to earn their first England caps in this tournament which sees England take on Canada, the USA and South Africa.

Experienced Wasps wing Michaela Staniford has also been called up to the squad this week following an injury to Georgina Roberts.

England Women's captain Katy McLean and Head Coach Gary Street lift the 6 Nations trophy

Photo: Getty Images

"This is an important opportunity to blood several new, young players who have got great potential," said Street. "This is also a real chance to have a look at new combinations and work on new strategies as we look to build on last season and raise the bar.

"This is going to be a tough tournament and I am expecting all three of our rivals to have upped their game since we last met. Canada have had a cracking 7s programme and a lot of their Sevens players are going to be involved in this tournament. It is always tough playing America who are a tough and physical side. South Africa are ever improving and they have a very talented head coach so I am sure they’ll be tough opposition."

Saracens hooker Amy Garnett could also be set to reach a milestone in this tournament. England’s most capped player of all time currently has 96 caps and if she plays in all four games she will make her 100th international appearance.

England kick off their Nations Cup campaign against the USA on August 2, kick off 1130pm BST.  Match action is available at www.womensnationscup.com

England Nations Cup Squad

Claire Allan (Richmond)
Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)
Jennifer Brightmore (Worcester)
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
Amy Garnett (Saracens)
Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
Sophie  Hemming (Bristol)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
Laura Keates (Worcester)
Jane Leonard (Wasps)
La ToyaMason (Wasps)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Joanna  McGilchrist (Wasps)
Sarah McKenna (Old Albanians)
Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park) (C)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Claire Purdy (Wasps)
Alice Richardson (Richmond)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park)
Danielle Waterman (Worcester)
Kay Wilson (Richmond)

England Nations Cup fixtures

August 2: USA v England KO 1130pm BST
August 5: South Africa v England KO 930pm BST
August 9: Canada v England KO 1130pm
August 13: Finals Day KO TBC