- Watmore, Richardson & Fisher out of NZ series
- England set to take on the world champions over three Tests
Bristol duo Kay Wilson and Isabelle Noel-Smith and Worcester’s Ceri Large have been called up to the England Women’s squad, who take on world champions New Zealand in a three-Test tour kicking off this Saturday, July 13, at Eden Park.
The trio have been called up as injury cover with Large replacing Alice Richardson, Noel-Smith for Heather Fisher and Wilson for Joanne Watmore. Richardson, Fisher and Watmore all picked up injuries during the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.
Wilson, Noel-Smith and Large join a squad that will be captained by Lichfield’s Sarah Hunter. England head to New Zealand on the back of two consecutive series wins against the Black Ferns in 2011 and 2012 but England have not played on their turf since 2005, or won a game in New Zealand since 2001.
England kick off their campaign against the Black Ferns on Saturday at 6.05am BST at Eden Park and the game will be shown live on Sky Sports 1. The match will be followed by the Blues versus Chiefs Super Rugby Round 20 clash. The match is also extra significant as it will mark the 1000th women’s test match since the remarkable women’s rugby story began some 30 years ago when France defeated the Netherlands 4-0.
England and New Zealand meet again on July 16 at Waikato Stadium and then for the final clash on July 20 at the ECOlight Stadium. The series will be the last time the two sides will meet before the Rugby World Cup in France in 2014.
England are also without Margaret Alphonsi, Danielle Waterman, Hannah Gallagher, Georgina Gulliver, Amy Turner and Fiona Pocock through injury and Head Coach Gary Street said: “With a handful of players out injured this is the strongest squad I have available. It is an exciting squad and one I think will relish the chance of playing the world champions in New Zealand, something we have not done in eight years.
“Unquestionably this is a hugely important series as we count down to the Rugby World Cup. It will be the last time we play them before that tournament and it will also provide a massive mental challenge for our squad.
“Playing at large stadiums like Eden Park and in front of big, passionate, rugby-mad crowds as well as taking on the world champions will provide me with an invaluable opportunity to access where we are 12 months out from the World Cup.”
Emily Braund (Lichfield)
Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
Emma Croker (Richmond)
Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield)
Laura Keates (Worcester)
La Toya Mason (Wasps)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
Joanne McGilchrist (Wasps)
Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Harriett Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
Kate Newton (Bristol)
Marlie Packer (Bristol)
Amber Reed (Bristol)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Tamara Taylor (Lichfield)
Sally Tuson (Bristol)
Ceri Large (Worcester)
Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol)
Kay Wilson (Bristol)
New Zealand v England series:
New Zealand v England, Saturday July 13, KO 6.05am BST, Eden Park, live on Sky Sports 1
New Zealand v England, Tuesday July 16, KO 8am BST, Waikato Stadium
New Zealand v England, Saturday July 20, KO 3.35am BST, ECOLight Stadium