England hand 12 players Women's Rugby World Cup debuts as title defence begins
Last Updated: 09/08/17 4:30pm
England Women will give World Cup debuts to 12 players in their opening pool game of the 2017 tournament, against Spain.
Simon Middleton has named his side for the Dublin clash, with Sarah Hunter as the team's captain and 2014 World Cup winner Emily Scarratt making her 70th appearance for the national side.
The 12 players in line for Rugby World Cup debuts include 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 appearances, 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 underway.'
England: 15 Danielle Waterman, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Megan Jones, 12 Rachael Burford, 11 Kay Wilson, 10 Katy Mclean, 9 Leanne Riley, 1 Vickii Cornborough, 2 Heather Kerr, 3 Sarah Bern, 4 Abbie Scott, 5 Zoe Aldcroft, 6 Harriet Millar-Mills, 7 Izzy Noel-Smith, 8 Sarah Hunter (c)
Replacements: 16 Amy Cokayne, 17 Rochelle Clark, 18 Justine Lucas, 19 Poppy Cleall, 20 Alex Matthews, 21 La Toya Mason, 22 Amber Reed, 23 Emily Scarratt.