Red Roses: Holly Aitchison in for Test debut vs New Zealand, replacing injured Emily Scarratt | Rugby Union News


England Women’s Red Roses Autumn schedule: Red Roses vs New Zealand Women (Sunday, October 31, 2.30pm); Red Roses vs New Zealand II (Sunday, November 7, 2.45pm); Red Roses vs Canada Women (Sunday, November 14, 2.30pm); Red Roses vs USA Women (Sunday, November 21, 2.45pm)

Last Updated: 29/10/21 12:42pm

Saracens' Holly Aitchison will make her Test debut for the Red Roses in Sunday's clash with New Zealand

Saracens’ Holly Aitchison will make her Test debut for the Red Roses in Sunday’s clash with New Zealand

Centre Holly Aitchison will make her international debut for the Red Roses in Sunday’s Test vs New Zealand, replacing the injured Emily Scarratt.

Head coach Simon Middleton has named Sarah Hunter as captain at No 8, with Amber Reed named as vice-captain for the autumn period, starting at inside centre.

Zoe Harrison is at fly-half, with Claudia MacDonald at scrum-half. Lydia Thompson, who scored a last-gasp winning try against France on England’s last visit to Sandy Park in November 2019, is at right wing, while Abby Dow is on the left wing. Harlequins’ Ellie Kildunne features at full-back.

Experienced campaigner Sarah Hunter captains the side from No 8

Experienced campaigner Sarah Hunter captains the side from No 8

In the forwards, Saracens’ Hannah Botterman starts at loosehead prop with Lark Davies and Sarah Bern making up the front row.

Fresh from Bristol Bears’ impressive start to the Allianz Premier 15s season, Abbie Ward is in the second row and Poppy Cleall plays at lock – a position she occupied for the majority of the Grand Slam-winning 2020 Six Nations campaign.

Gloucester-Hartpury’s Zoe Aldcroft is at blindside flanker while West Country-born Marlie Packer is at openside on her return to her home region.

Maud Muir could earn her first England cap after impressing during camps over the last year and domestically for Wasps as she is named among the finishers.

“We’re really looking forward to the autumn internationals and opening against New Zealand at Sandy Park,” said head coach Middleton.

“The number one ranked side in the world coming up against the reigning champions is an exciting prospect.

Head coach Simon Middleton is excited about facing New Zealand women in successive weekends

Head coach Simon Middleton is excited about facing New Zealand women in successive weekends

“We’re really starting to see some of our youngsters mature into fine players and this autumn series is a great opportunity for them to stake a claim for the World Cup.

“Holly Aitchison is one such player. She has been playing extremely well at Saracens and has trained outstandingly since coming into the programme.

“Maud Muir is another youngster who has deservedly been named among the finishers. She’s trained really well with us for the last year, has been non-playing reserve and has very much earned her chance.

“New Zealand haven’t played a lot of international rugby over the last couple of years and it’s great to have the world champions back on the international stage and especially great for us to be first up for their return.

“Matches at Sandy Park are always memorable occasions with the support of the local Devon public invaluable and this one will be no different.”

England Women: 15 Ellie Kildunne, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Holly Aitchison, 12 Amber Reed, 11 Abby Dow, 10 Zoe Harrison, 9 Claudia MacDonald; 1 Hannah Botterman, 2 Lark Davies, 3 Sarah Bern, 4 Poppy Cleall, 5 Abbie Ward, 6 Zoe Aldcroft, 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Sarah Hunter (c)

Replacements: 16 Amy Cokayne, 17 Vickii Cornborough, 18 Maud Muir, 19 Harriet Millar-Mills, 20 Alex Matthews, 21 Leanne Infante, 22 Helena Rowland, 23 Lagi Tuima.





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