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Women's World Cup: Vicky MacQueen warns England of threat posed by Canada
Former England full-back Vicky MacQueen has warned England not to take a vastly improved Canada side lightly when the two sides meet in the Women’s Rugby World Cup on Saturday.
England romped to an opening day 65-3 win against Samoa before coach Gary Street fielded an experimental line-up which beat Spain 45-5 on Tuesday.
Street has named his side to play Canada and has restored most of the players that started the match against Samoa to his starting line-up.
Claire Allan replaces Lydia Thompson who suffered a tournament-ending groin injury prior to the Spain game, while Ceri Large, Sophie Hemming and Rebecca Essex replace Katy Mclean, Laura Keates and Joanna McGilchrist respectively.
And MacQueen, who was a member of the first England squad to beat New Zealand away from home, insists Canada will be England’s most difficult opponents of the tournament so far.
“Nobody is under any illusions Canada will be the toughest test in this pool for England,” MacQueen told Sky Sports.
“Canada will be a different kettle of fish for England they’re very physical and they’ve got an excellent Sevens programme in place which has developed their skills and tactical awareness.
“Their fitness and conditioning is also now a lot stronger and the experience as of playing more Tests has enabled them to improve over time.
“Canada are a strong side and not to be messed around with. England will be under no illusions that it will be a tough game but at the same time they should still come out on top.”
Canada’s Mandy Marchak has played in two World Cups and MacQueen believes the veteran centre’s experience will be vital for Canada if they are to get something out of the game.
“Mandy will be definitely be really important for the Canadians both in terms of experience and bringing the new players on that haven’t had World Cup experience.
It is a massive occasion for both sides and nerves will play a part so she’ll be there to settle them but also to lead from the front playing the way that she’s shown she can play.
“She’ll be a big leader for Canada around the pitch on Saturday.”
England: 15 D Waterman, 14 K Merchant, 13 E Scarrat, 12 R Burford, 11 C Allan, 10 C Large, 9 N Hunt; 1 R Clark, 2 E Croker, 3 S Hemming, 4 R Essex, 5 T Taylor, 6 H Fisher (capt), 7 M Alphonsi, 8 S Hunter.
Replacements: 16 V Fleetwood, 17 L Keates, 18 J McGilchrist, 19 A Matthews, 20 LT Mason, 21 K Mclean, 22 K Wilson
Watch England take on Spain from FFR Headquarters from 2.30pm on Saturday on Sky Sports 1HD