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England Women’s squad announced for New Zealand Test Series

07 November 2012

  • England to play world champions New Zealand three time this November
  • New caps Jo Watmore and Amber Reed included
England wing Jo Watmore scores on debut against France

Photo: Rugbymatters.net

England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street has named a 27-strongsquad to take on the reigning world champions New Zealand over three international test matches later this month.

England are set to take on the Black Ferns on November 23 at Esher RFC, November 27 at the Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium and December 1 at Twickenham Stadium, with the final game of the series following the men’s QBE International between the same teams. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD and there will be free entry to the match following the final whistle of the men’s game.

Bristol’s Amber Reed and Worcester’s Joanne Watmore are two notable inclusions in the squad. The duo impressed on their England XVs debuts on Saturday against France, with Watmore scoring a try and Reed adding two penalties and a conversion in the 23-13 victory.

Also in the squad are sisters Francesca and Alexandra Matthew who are set to play their first ever England XVs match together. They will become the third set of sisters to run out for England, after Maxine and Jackie Edwards and the Mitchell twins – Emma and Jane.

Although England are without Margaret Alphonsi, Rachael Burford, La Toya Mason, Fiona Pocock and Joanna McGilchrist through injuries, Street has named a strong and experienced squad for this series.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks’ fly half Katy McLean returns to lead England, while Lichfield’s Sarah Hunter is named as vice-captain. There are 13 players who played in Rugby World Cup 2010, while the squad can boast over 750 caps between them.

Kat Merchant makes a break

Photo: Getty Images

Street said: "Excluding a handful of injuries this is the strongest squad I could have selected for this series. It is an exciting mix of power and pace and we have got some real experience too.

"I am delighted that the likes of Alex Matthews, Jo Watmore and Amber Reed are in the squad. Alex may only have four caps but she has already played the world champions and knows what to expect of them while Jo and Amber showed they are ready to step-up to the next level after making their debuts at the weekend.

“Our game against France at the weekend was a vitally important match. It was a testing and physical battle and we showed character and resolve under some real pressure. The match was ideal preparation for this series.”

England last played New Zealand 12 months ago and England bounced back from their 2010 World Cup heartache to defeat the Black Ferns twice and drawing the final match for a 2-0 series win. It was a historic series for England as they became the first side ever to nil the world champions and inflict two consecutive defeats.

Street added: “The Black Ferns will need little motivation after their series lost last year. We are under no illusions that they’ll be even more determined than ever to come back here and reverse that result. They have selected a talented squad with a lot of experience, including some real stars of the NPC league.”

England Women's Squad

Claire Allan (Richmond)
Emily Braund (Lichfield)
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
Emma Croker (Richmond)
Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield)
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield)
Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Sarah Hunter (VC) (Lichfield)
Laura Keates (Worcester)
Ceri Large (Worcester)
Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Katy McLean (C) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Marlie Packer (Bristol)
Amber Reed (Bristol)
Alice Richardson (Richmond)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Tamara Taylor (Lichfield)
Danielle Waterman (Worcester)
Joanne Watmore (Worcester)

England Women Autumn International Series

Nov 3, 2012 - England 23 France 13 - Esher RFC
Nov 23, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Esher RFC - KO 7.30pm (Live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive)
Nov 27, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium - KO 7.30pm. (Live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive)
Dec 1, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Twickenham Stadium - KO 5pm (Live on Sky Sports 1HD)

Tickets for England’s Autumn International Series are available through www.ticketmaster.co.uk, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s. This excludes the England v New Zealand game at Twickenham on December 1st as there is free entry to the stadium following the conclusion of the men’s match.