England have named a 28-strong squad for the summer tour to New Zealand.
Sarah Hunter remains captain after guiding the Red Roses to a Grand Slam in this year’s Six Nations, and the vast majority of the squad who competed in the tournament have been selected for this tour.
Locks Emily Braund and Abbie Scott return after long injury layoffs, but Claire Allan, Poppy Cleall, Laura Keates, Fiona Pocock, and Amy Wilson Hardy have been ruled out of selection as a result of injury.
The Red Roses will play three matches in New Zealand – against Australia (9th June), Canada (13th June) and the hosts (17th June). Their final game will be the curtain-raiser for the British & Irish Lions match against the Maori All Blacks.
This is an important series for the Red Roses ahead of the Rugby World Cup in August, as they look to test themselves against the best rugby teams in the women’s game.
Head coach Simon Middleton said: “The tight turnaround of games replicates the World Cup schedule and we expect to encounter a great atmosphere which will provide players with the best possible preparation for [the World Cup in] Ireland. The squad have been training together for the last six weeks and I am looking forward to seeing them translate their hard work into first-class performances on the pitch.”
Red Roses Squad for the Tour to New Zealand
Sarah Bern (Bristol), Emily Braund (Lichfield), Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries), Amy Cokayne (Lichfield), Vickii Cornborough (Aylesford Bulls), Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (Bristol), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Justine Lucas (Lichfield), Alex Matthews (Richmond), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol), Marlie Packer (Bristol), Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Rachael Burford (Aylesford Bulls), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), Megan Jones (Bristol), La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Sarah McKenna (Saracens), Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Amber Reed (Bristol), Leanne Riley (Aylesford Bulls), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Emily Scott (Saracens), Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries), Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Kay Wilson (Richmond)