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Rugby - 07. November 2009.

England Womens team announced for New Zealand test

 
 
The England Womens team to face world champions New Zealand for the first of three tests in November has been announced.
Saracens' Maggie Alphonsi returns to action for England
The England Women's team to face world champions New Zealand for the first of three tests in November has today (Tuesday) been announced.

The reigning RBS 6 Nations and Nations Cup champions take on the Black Ferns for the first time since the 2006 IRB Women's Rugby World Cup final on November 14th at Esher RFC, kick off 4pm.

England narrowly lost their last encounter 25-17 but will be hoping to turn the tables ahead of the 2010 IRB Women's Rugby World Cup in London which is just nine months away.

England A will also take on the Black Ferns on November 17th at Esher RFC, kick off 7pm, and then England will back in action against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium on November 21st, kick off 445pm, in the Investec Challenge Double Header, with entry to the stadium free after 415pm.

England are without five first choice players for the autumn series, with Team Northumbria's Rochelle Clark (hand) and Katy Storie (back), Lichfield's Sarah Hunter (arm), Worcester's Karen Jones (knee) and Danielle Waterman (acl) all sidelined.

There are, however, still over 400 caps shared between the starting line-up, with Bristol's Catherine Spencer captaining the side. Saracens' hooker Amy Garnett looks set to win her 80th cap, while Wasps' La Toya Mason could make her international debut if called off the bench. England also welcome back Saracens' Maggie Alphonsi and Darlington Mowden Park Sharks' Tamara Taylor who have been sidelined with long term injuries.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: "Because we have a fantastic international programme, over the last few seasons we have been able to prepare for injury situations like this. It is disappointing that we have so many players injured for this very important period but we do have depth in our squad, and these games will certainly give us the chance to test ourselves against the best opposition in the world ahead of world cup next year.

"Despite losing these players I am delighted to welcome back Maggie Alphonsi and Tamara Taylor who are world class players, and natural leaders. They both played against New Zealand in the last world cup final so they will certainly add an important dimension to our squad.

"Having three games in seven days is going to be a demanding period of rugby for both us and New Zealand. I know they have some new caps in their squad, and I am sure they will be a very talented and determined side. We, however, can't wait to show them how we have moved on since our last meeting three years ago."

England Team

15 Charlotte Barras Saracens
14 Katherine Merchant Worcester
13 Emily Scarratt Lichfield
12 Alice Richardson Richmond
11 Fiona Pocock Richmond
10 Katy Mclean (VC) Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
9 Amy Turner Richmond
1 Claire Purdy Wasps
2 Amy Garnett Saracens
3 Sophie Hemming Bristol
4 Rebecca Essex Richmond
5 Joanna McGilchrist Wasps
6 Heather Fisher Worcester
7 Margaret Alphonsi Saracens
8 Catherine Spencer (C) Bristol
Replacements:
16 Sam Reeve Worcester
17 Rosemarie Crowley Lichfield
18 Tamara Taylor Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
19 Jane Leonard Team Northumbria / Army
20 La Toya Mason Wasps
21 Rachael Burford Richmond
22 Claire Allan Richmond

England Playing Schedule:

November 14th England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, KO 4pm
November 17th England A v New Zealand, Esher RFC, KO 7pm
November 21st England v New Zealand, Twickenham, KO 445pm
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