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Sarah Hunter captains new-look England for Women’s World Cup opener

The Guardian logo The Guardian 08/08/2017 Guardian sport
The England women’s rugby team at Heathrow before their departure for the World Cup in Ireland. © Getty Images The England women’s rugby team at Heathrow before their departure for the World Cup in Ireland.

Head coach Simon Middleton has named his matchday 23 for England’s opening pool game on Wednesday in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The 2014 World Cup winner Emily Scarratt is set to make her 70th appearance for the Red Roses off the bench in Dublin in the game against Spain, while No8 Sarah Hunter will captain the side.

Twelve players are set to make their World Cup debuts including Sarah Bern, Harriet Millar-Mills, Izzy Noel-Smith, Amy Cokayne, Vickii Cornborough, Poppy Cleall and Justine Lucas, who all featured in England’s Six Nations grand slam campaign this year. They are joined by Abbie Scott, Heather Kerr and Zoe Aldcroft in the forwards.

In the backs, Megan Jones and Leanne Riley, who both featured in England’s successful three-Test tour in New Zealand this June, will also make their World Cup debuts. Full back Danielle Waterman and inside centre Rachael Burford will make their fourth World Cup appearance, having played in every tournament since 2006.

Middleton said: “We are really happy with the way our tournament preparation has gone and the squad have worked really hard over the past number of months. Now it’s about translating that hard work and preparation and delivering performance on the pitch.

“We have a strong squad and want to use the full depth available to us throughout the World Cup. We are looking forward getting the tournament under way.”

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