Four players called up to England Women’s Nations Cup squad
England Women’s Coach Graham Smith has made four late call-ups for next week’s Nations Cup in Denver, America.
Smith, who is taking on the Head Coach role for this tournament, has called up Bristol duo Kate Hancock and Francesca Hall, Carlisle’s Julie Hope and Waterloo’s Eleanor Prescott. The quartet replace Claire Allan, Ruth Laybourn, Kate Newton and Abbie Scott who are no longer available.
The Nations Cup squad will captained by Lichfield’s Sarah Hunter who will lead a new-look developing England squad. In total, there are now 11 players set to make their England debuts, including England U20s captain Megan Goddard and fellow U20s players Charlotte Keane, Leanne Riley, Francesca Hall and Amy Wilson-Hardy.
Smith, who will be working with former Leeds Carnegie player and Defence and Skills coach Simon Middleton, said: “We are really looking forward to taking on the challenge of the Nations Cup. We are taking an extended squad of 30, with just nine players who played in last week’s New Zealand Series involved. We have 11 potential new caps and we are really excited to see how they go.
“For us this is a development process as we look ahead to the Rugby World Cup in France in 12 months’ time. Gary Street and I have talked for many years about strength in depth and how important that is and that is what we are continuing to build here.”
England head to Denver as defending Nations Cup champions but they will have a tough ask to defend their crown as they take on Canada, the USA and South Africa.
Smith added: “This is definitely going to be a tough tournament. We are expecting our opponents to be big and physical. They have all got some big athletes and we know they’ll be some tough games. We are under no illusions about that. We will of course be looking at the experienced players in this squad to show the less experienced players what being in an England side is all about.”
Sarah Hunter will Captain England at the Nations Cup
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Lauren Cattell (Saracens), Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond), Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Emma Croker (Richmond), Fiona Davidson (Richmond), Rebecca Essex (Richmond), Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Fiona Fletcher (Lichfield), *Mercedes Foy (Thurrock), *Megan Goddard (Worcester), * Julie Hope (Carlisle), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), *Charlotte Keane (Worcester), Laura Keates (Worcester), Ceri Large (Worcester), *Justine Lucas (Lichfield), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol), *Eleanor Prescott (Waterloo), Claire Purdy (Wasps), *Leanne Riley (Saracens), Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), *Zoe Saynor (Bristol), Emily Scott (Thurrock), Lydia Thompson (Worcester), Kay Wilson (Bristol), *Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol), *Kate Hancock (Bristol), *Francesca Hall (Bristol), *denotes uncapped player
Nations Cup Fixtures:
England v Canada, Tuesday July 30, KO 10pm BST
England v South Africa, Saturday August 3, KO 10pm BST
England v USA, Wednesday August 7, KO 1am BST
Finals Day, Saturday August 10, KO TBC