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Eleven new faces in England Women's EPS

09 September 2013

  • Eleven newcomers in Women’s EPS
  • England set for demanding year of international rugby
Emily Scott is named in this season's EPS

Photo: Rugbymatters.net

England Women’s Elite Player squad (EPS) for the 2013/14 campaign has been announced, with 11 new faces included in an extended group of 50 selected from England XVs and Sevens trials, as well as the RFU’s divisional and club rugby programmes.

Thurrock hooker Mercedes Foy and Lichfield prop Justine Lucas have been included after impressing during this summer’s Nations Cup, while Worcester centre Megan Goddard, Durham’s Sophie Lee, Saracens’ Leanne Riley, Bristol’s Siobhan Longdon-Hughes and Amy Wilson-Hardy all graduate from either England Under 20 or the Sevens development squad.

Thurrock fly half Emily Scott, who made her England debut in last season’s Six Nations campaign, makes the natural step up to the EPS. Saracens’ Sarah McKenna also returns.

There are also call-ups for Megan Ellery, younger sister of England Sevens player Mike Ellery, and Deborah Fleming – who becomes the first player to be selected into the EPS from UK Sport’s Power 2 Podium talent identification programme. Both players impressed in the England Sevens open trials held earlier this year.

The England squads will compete in another rigorous and competitive international programme this season. The XVs will be involved in an Autumn International Series in November (details of which will be confirmed shortly) followed by the Six Nations Championship in the New Year. These two series will be invaluable preparation for the 2014 Rugby World Cup, which takes place in France next August.

England Sevens, meanwhile, will compete in the expanded IRB World Sevens Series which sees rounds in Dubai, USA, China, Brazil, Amsterdam and one other location to be confirmed.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: “This season we have selected a squad of 50 players for our EPS. This is because of the challenge a World Cup year brings, as well as being one of eight teams selected for every Sevens World Series events.

Ceri Large

Photo: Getty Images

“This is a really exciting squad with several established and experienced players mixed with some new, fresh talent from the U20s and the Sevens development programme.

“This is obviously a huge year for England Rugby and, although the 2010 World Cup doesn’t seem that long ago, the excitement for the 2014 tournament has already started to build.

“We will certainly be providing our players with a comprehensive playing programme as we build towards the World Cup next summer. The players who kicked off their Premiership season on Sunday are already chomping at the bit.”

In addition to the EPS, an England World Cup training squad will also be selected from the EPS in November to support preparations for the competition. This squad will receive increased training time and enhanced resources available to them in the New Year.

Street added: “Although we will be selecting 30 players to join a World Cup training squad, this squad will by no means be a definitive squad. Selecting this group of players nine months out will be hugely important for us but we will also continue to monitor players throughout the season.”

England Women EPS 2013/2014

Claire Allan (Richmond)
Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)
Emily Braund (Lichfield)
Natasha Brennan (Wasps)
Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
Lauren Cattell (Saracens)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
Emma Croker (Richmond)
Fiona Davidson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Megan Ellery (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)*
Becky Essex (Richmond)
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Vicky Fleetwood (Lichfield)
Deborah Fleming (Bristol)*
Mercedes Foy (Thurrock)*
Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
Megan Goddard (Worcester)*
Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield)
Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
Laura Keates (Worcester)
Ceri Large (Worcester)
Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Sophie Lee (Durham University)*
Siobhan Longdon-Hughes (Bristol)*
Justine Lucas (Lichfield)*
La Toya Mason (Wasps)
Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens)*
Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
Marlie Packer (Wasps)
Claire Purdy (Wasps)
Amber Reed (Bristol)
Leanne Riley (Saracens)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)*
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Tamara Taylor (Lichfield)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
Sally Tuson (Saracens)
Danielle Waterman (Bristol)
Kay Wilson (Bristol)
Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)*

*Denotes new squad member