Women's Rugby World Cup: England opt for experience for Samoa opener
Last Updated: 31/07/14 8:24pm
England have named an experienced side to face Samoa in their opening match at the Women's Rugby World Cup on Friday in Marcoussis.
Five players in the starting XV - flanker Maggie Alphonsi, full-back Danielle Waterman, prop Rochelle Clark, lock Tamara Taylor and centre Rachael Burford - are appearing in their third World Cup tournament.
Clark is the most experienced player in the squad with 91 caps.
Fly-half Katy Mclean, who will win her 70th cap, captains the side with number eight Sarah Hunter named as vice-captain.
Prop Laura Keates, scrum-half Natasha Hunt and winger Lydia Thompson are all set to make their World Cup debuts, while replacements Victoria Fleetwood, Marlie Packer, Ceri Large and Kay Wilson could also make their bows.
"We are really excited that the World Cup is about to start," said Street.
"We have been in camp for a long time and we have done all we can. Now we are looking forward to getting on the pitch and hearing that first whistle blow.
"We have named a strong squad with 15 players having had World Cup experience under their belts already. That is going to give us a good mental edge for the start of the campaign.
"Samoa will no doubt be difficult opposition. They have got some talented players who play in the New Zealand NPC series. They have some big ball carriers and we know they'll be well prepared after playing New Zealand a couple of months ago. We are expecting a tough battle for our first game."
England have finished runners-up in the last three World Cups, losing to New Zealand in the final on each occasion.
Canada and Spain are the other two opponents in Pool A.
England: Danielle Waterman (Bristol); Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Rachael Burford ( Thurrock), Lydia Thompson (Worcester); Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, capt), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Emma Croker (Richmond), Laura Keates (Worcester), Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
Replacements: Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Claire Purdy (Wasps), Rebecca Essex (Richmond), Marlie Packer (Wasps), La Toya Mason (Wasps), Ceri Large (Worcester), Kay Wilson (Bristol)
Watch England take on Samoa from FFR Headquarters from 4.45pm this Friday on Sky Sports 3