The Women’s England A team to face Russia in the opening game of the 2007 European Championships in Madrid on Saturday, kick-off 3pm BST, has today (Thursday) been announced.
Wasps fly-half Shelley Rae will lead the team, with Richmond lock Rebecca Essex as vice-captain. The strong squad includes three capped players in the starting line-up; hooker Emma Layland, flanker Sarah Hunter and skipper Rae. On the bench there are four further England capped players in Henley’s Rochelle Clark, Leos’ Sarah Beale, Wasps’ Michaela Staniford and Saracens’ Claire Allan.
The seven day tournament will see the England development squad take on Russia, Italy and Spain who are all in Pool A. The team then finishing top of the pool will play the team that tops group B, which could either be France, Wales, the Netherlands or Sweden, in the final on May 5th. There are also play-offs from 3rd place down to eighth.
England A head coach Amanda Bennett said: “This is going to be a very exciting tournament. Last time we competed we reached the final, only to lose by a point against France.
“We are obviously going out to Spain to do our best and experienced players like Rochelle, Kim, Michaela and Shelley will certainly add that vital ingredient. However, this tour is also about development and it will certainly prove to be vital experience for many of the players in this squad.”
1 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield),
2 Emma Layland (Richmond),
3 Katie Smith (Richmond),
4 Rebecca Essex (VC) (Richmond),
5 Natalie Binstead (Wasps),
6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield),
7 Jane Leonard (Wasps & Army),
8 Leah Carey (Lichfield),
9 Harriet Slynn (Richmond),
10 Shelly Rae (C) (Wasps),
11 Fiona Pocock (Richmond),
12 Kimberly Oliver (Clifton),
13 Georgina Roberts (Thirsk),
14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester),
15 Vicki Jackson (Lichfield).
16 Samantha Dale (Worcester),
17 Rochelle Clark (Henley),
18 Emma Dresser (Lichfield),
19 Sarah Beale (Leos),
20 Georgina Rozario (Plymouth Albion),
21 Michaela Staniford (Wasps),
22 Claire Allan (Saracens)