- England look to retain their Nations Cup title
- Smith mixes up the backline for final clash
Acting England Women’s Head Coach Graham Smith has made five changes, two positional, for Sunday’s Nations Cup final against Canada at Infinity Park in Colorado (kick-off 1:30am BST).
Smith has kept faith in the pack that scored four of the six tries in Wednesday’s 36-21 win over the USA, but has mixed up his backline.
Bristol’s Amy Wilson-Hardy and Saracens’ Lauren Cattell form a new centre partnership, while Lydia Thompson and Georgina Roberts are given the nod on the wings. Vice-captain Ceri Large moves to fly-half.
England head into Sunday’s game on the back of wins over South Africa and the USA, but Canada proved to be a disruptive hurdle in the Nations Cup opener when a try in the last play of the game handed the Canucks a 29-25 victory.
Smith, whose team are the defending Nations Cup champions but have travelled to the USA with a largely young and inexperienced squad, said: “This has been a very challenging tour and we have all learnt a lot about ourselves. The squad have continually worked hard and that was evident in the last game against the USA.
“Canada are very tough opponents and have already beaten us in a close fought match and we are under no illusions about how tough the final will be. We expect a very physical challenge but at the same time we will be providing exactly that for the Canadians.”
You can watch the Nations Cup Final live at http://infinityparkatglendale.com/rugbytown/matchplayer
15 Kay Wilson (Bristol), 14 Lydia Thompson (Worcester), 13 Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol), 12 Lauren Cattell (Saracens), 11 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 10 Ceri Large (Worcester, vice-captain), 9 Fiona Davidson (Richmond); 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Emma Croker (Richmond), 3 Laura Keates (Worcester), 4 Becky Essex (Richmond), 5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 6 Isabelle Noel Smith (Bristol), 7 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield, captain)
Replacements: 16 Mercedes Foy (Thurrock), 17 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 18 Justine Lucas (Lichfield), 19 Zoe Saynor (Bristol), 20 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), 21 Charlotte Keane (Worcester), 22 Emily Scott (Thurrock), 23 Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
England’s Nations Cup:
July 30, England 18 Canada 25
August 3, England 18 South Africa 17
August 8, England 36 USA 21
August 11, Nations Cup Final: England v Canada at Infinity Park, Glendale (kick-off 1:30am BST)