Hunter returns to captain England Women

  • Hunter to make first international appearance since 2014 Rugby World Cup 
  • Scarratt comes back as vice-captain of the tour party including four new caps

England Women’s Head Coach Simon Middleton has named a squad of 28 players for this month’s Rugby Super Series in Canada where England will play the USA, New Zealand and Canada.

Rugby World Cup winner Sarah Hunter will captain the party as she returns to play in her first tournament since helping England to win the Rugby World Cup in August.

The No 8 has been side-lined with a knee injury since the start of the year. Fly half Katy Mclean, who captained England during the Six Nations, is ruled out through injury.

Emily Scarratt, whose 16-point haul helped secure a 21-9 win over Canada in the Rugby World Cup final a year ago, also returns to 15-a-side rugby for the first time this season having been involved in England’s Sevens World Series campaign.

The versatile back has been named as vice-captain. Marlie Packer and Heather Fisher are also back for their first starts in ten months having been involved with the England Sevens programme.

At the other end of the experience scale, England will travel to Canada with two uncapped players in Megan Jones and Lark Davies. Midfield back Jones has been on England’s radar for some time now, and played in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens last season, but has been unlucky with injuries, while hooker Davies has progressed through the England Under 20 ranks.

Middleton, who travels to Canada with new Lead Coach Scott Bemand and Assistant Coach Matt Ferguson, said: “This is a really exciting squad and we are really looking forward to developing as a team, and playing against some stellar opposition.

“We have brought back some experienced names in Sarah Hunter, Heather Fisher and Marlie Packer. They will bolster our already strong backrow options with Hannah Gallagher and Alex Matthews doing a great job during the Six Nations.

“Emily will also be vital both on and off the field. She is a world class player and can offer so much experience to our younger squad members.

“We have our sights set on the 2017 Rugby World Cup so I am really excited to see how players like Lark Davies and Megan Jones fair on this tour as this is their opportunity to step up.

“Others, like Bianca Blackburn, Abbie Brown and Amy Cokayne, also showed their potential during the Six Nations. By nurturing this talent now, we will bolster the depth in our squad which is really exciting for the future.”

England will play the USA on 27 June in Calgary before taking on fierce rivals New Zealand on 1 July in Red Deer. England then take on Rugby World Cup runners-up Canada in the tournament finale on 5 July in Edmonton.

Middleton added: “The most important things for us in Canada is our performance and developing that winning mentality. With this new squad, we are working hard to develop the style of play we want to play, and finding out as much as we can about each other. I have confidence in this squad and I know that if we get the performance right, the results will come.”

England summer tour squad

Bianca Blackburn (Worcester)
Abbie Brown (Bristol)
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
Amy Cokayne (Lichfield)
Victoria Cornborough (Richmond)
Lark Davies (Worcester)
Heather Fisher (Thurrock)
Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens)
Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
Sarah Hunter (Lichfield, captain)
Megan Jones (Bristol)
Laura Keates (Worcester)
Ceri Large (Worcester)
Justine Lucas (Lichfield)
Katie Mason (Bristol)
Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens)
Marlie Packer (Wasps)
Fiona Pocock (Richmond)
Amber Reed  (Bristol)
Leanne Riley (Saracens)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, vice-captain)
Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)
Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
Kay Wilson (Thurrock)

Rugby Super Series Fixtures

27 June

England vs USA, kick-off 11pm BST
Canada vs NZ, kick-off 1.30am BST (28 June)
Calgary Rugby Park

1 July 

England vs NZ, kick-off 11pm BST
Canada vs USA, kick-off 1.30am BST (2 July)
Red Deer Titans Park

5 July 

New Zealand vs USA, kick-off 11pm BST
England vs Canada, 1.30am BST (6 July)
Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton