England name team for Pool B decider against the USA

Red Roses coach Simon Middleton has made six changes to the side which beat Italy three days ago as England look to advance into the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Regular skipper Sarah Hunter returns to the starting line-up at Number 8, while Alex Matthews and Marlie Packer, who both had storming games against Italy, complete the back row.

Props Sarah Bern and Vickii Cornborough replace Rocky Clarke and Justine Lucas, both of whom move to the bench where they’re joined by hooker Vicky Fleetwood, who has recovered from a minor leg injury which prevented her from taking part in the first two World Cup games.

In the backs, in-form Kay Wilson returns to the wing, while Katy McLean comes back to start at fly-half and Amber Reed shifts to inside centre.

The Red Roses take on the USA in their final pool match and whichever team wins is guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals, so both sides will be looking to put in a top performance.

The USA had a rather understated start to the World Cup, only beating Italy by 24 points to 12, but seemed to hit their stride against Spain, scoring six tries and keeping their opponents scoreless (something England have failed to do). Whilst the Red Roses may not be as familiar with them as they are with Spain and Italy, the USA should certainly not be underrated as they possess some powerful backs, particularly at wing and fullback. They will be the toughest test the Red Roses have faced so far in this campaign, and the match should be quite close.

England should hopefully improve on what was at times a poor performance against Italy, and with Katy McLean back at fly-half they should be more fluent and coherent in attack. Hopefully they’ve also worked on not dropping the ball and managed to get a few kicks through the posts in training too, but if they play to their potential they should be able to beat the USA.

The game will be broadcast live on ITV4 from 2pm for viewers in the UK and will be streamed live on the World Rugby facebook page.

Red Roses Team to play USA (Thursday 17th August
KO: 2.30pm BST; 9.30am ET; 6.30am PST; 11.30pm AEST, Dublin)

15. Danielle Waterman (Bristol, 72 caps)
14. Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol, 8 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, 71 caps)
12. Amber Reed (Bristol, 41 caps)
11. Kay Wilson (Richmond, 46 caps)
10. Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 88 caps)
9. Natasha Hunt (Lichfield, 38 caps)

1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 28 caps)
2. Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 30 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol, 12 caps)
4. Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 18 caps)
5. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 106 caps)
6. Alex Matthews (Richmond, 34 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Bristol, 48 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter (Bristol, 95 caps)


16. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 62 caps)
17. Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries, 126 caps)
18. Justine Lucas (Lichfield, 24 caps)
19. Poppy Cleall (Bristol, 14 caps)
20. Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 48 caps)
21. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 12 caps)
22. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies, 69 caps)
23. Megan Jones (Bristol, 6 caps)


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