Skip to content

England vs Canada: Red Roses make nine changes following Australia win to open WXV tournament

Marlie Packer scored two tries as England kicked off the new series with a 42-7 victory over Australia in Wellington last week; she keeps her place as England face Canada on October 27, while full-back Ellie Kildunne is one of the new faces to come into the starting line-up

Ellie Kildunne at Twickenham for England's final Women's Six Nations game against France
Image: Full-back Ellie Kildunne is back in the England starting line-up against Canada on Friday

England have made nine changes to their starting line-up for their second match of the WXV 1 tournament against Canada on Friday.

Marlie Packer scored two tries as England kicked off the new series with a 42-7 victory over Australia in Wellington last week.

She keeps her place in the side but, elsewhere, full-back Ellie Kildunne - who has three tries in her last two outings against the Canadians - and wing Claudia MacDonald return to the back three, alongside Abby Dow.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 20: Megan Jones celebrates her try with Helena Rowland during the WXV1 Match between England and Australia Wallaroos at Sky Stadium on October 20, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Image: Megan Jones and Helena Rowland celebrate as England made a winning start to the new WVX series against Australia

Helena Rowland switches to outside centre, linking up with incoming midfielder Amber Reed, and scrum-half Natasha Hunt is named as Holly Aitchison's half-back partner.

A fresh front row sees Mackenzie Carson, Lark Atkin-Davies and Sarah Bern start, while Cath O'Donnell is back in the second row beside Zoe Aldcroft.

Morwenna Talling is selected at blindside flanker as captain Marlie Packer and Alex Matthews continue at openside flanker and number eight respectively.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

England attack coach Lou Meadows says the Red Roses are 'showing confidence' in their new attacking style of play.

Red Roses interim head coach Louis Deacon said: "We've named a team that we believe gives us the best opportunity to build on our momentum after the game last weekend.

Also See:

"The energy has been positive throughout our time in New Zealand, and it's been a great start to our time in Dunedin as we prepare for the next round of WXV.

"Our Summer Series matches against Canada were the perfect warm-up for WXV and we have no doubt they will provide a stern test once again on Friday night."

Red Roses line-up: 15. Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins), 14. Abby Dow (Trailfinders Women), 13. Helena Rowland - vice-captain (Loughborough Lightning), 12. Amber Reed (Bristol Bears), 11. Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs), 10. Holly Aitchison (Bristol Bears), 9. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury)

1. Mackenzie Carson (Gloucester-Hartpury), 2. Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears), 3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears), 4. Zoe Aldcroft - vice-captain (Gloucester-Hartpury), 5. Cath O'Donnell (Loughborough Lightning), 6. Morwenna Talling (Sale Sharks), 7. Marlie Packer - captain (Saracens), 8. Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury)

Replacements: 16. Connie Powell (Harlequins), 17. Hannah Botterman (Bristol Bears), 18. Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury), 19. Rosie Galligan (Saracens), 20. Maisy Allen (Exeter Chiefs), 21. Ella Wyrwas (Saracens), 22. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury), 23. Jess Breach (Saracens)

What is the WXV tournament?

World Rugby has launched a new three-tier annual women's international competition, WXV, with all home nations in action from Friday October 13. Each tier has six teams and is played as a stand alone tournament in a different location, with WXV 1 in New Zealand, WXV 2 in South Africa, and WXV 3 in Dubai.

England, Canada and France made winning starts to the competition last week, with England's next opponents Canada overcoming Wales 42-22 in their opener. France edged past New Zealand 18-17.

WXV 1: Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Wales.

WXV 2: Italy, Japan, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA.

WXV 3: Colombia, Fiji, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Spain.

It's a cross-pool format, meaning teams don't play everyone in their tier, instead taking on three nations from outside their continent (with the exception of Ireland vs Spain).

There will be no relegation from WXV 1 for the first two years, but the sixth-placed team from WXV 2 will be relegated to WXV 3 and replaced by the winner of the third tier. The bottom-placed team from WXV 3 will be at risk of leaving the competition and face a play-off with the next best side according to the World Rugby Women's Rankings.