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World Player of the Year Scarratt in England squad

World Player of the Year Scarratt in England squad

England head coach Simon Middleton wants his team to lay down a marker for the 2020 Women’s Six Nations after naming his squad for November’s Autumn Series.

The reigning Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam champions will take on France home and away before a visit from Italy and Middleton has stocked his squad with plenty of skill and experience – newly-crowned World Player of the Year Emily Scarratt at the top of the list.

Centre Scarratt was crowned World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in Yokohama and became the third English player to win the award after Maggie Alphonsi and Sarah Hunter.

The 29-year-old transitioned back to 15s from sevens ahead of the Championship earlier this year and was integral as the Red Roses claimed their ninth Championship Grand Slam.

Elsewhere in the squad, there are inclusions for experienced Saracens forwards Vicky Fleetwood and Marlie Packer.

And Scarratt is joined in the backs by Loughborough Lightning teammate and England centurion Katy Daley-Mclean, while Abby Dow is also included after scoring seven tries in Wasps’ opening six games of the Tyrells Premier 15s season.

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England face France at Stade Marcel Michelin, Clermont on Saturday 9 November before hosting Les Bleus in their Quilter International at Sandy Park, Exeter the following Saturday and cap off their autumn series with a second Quilter International against Italy on November 23.

“We’ve had a couple of strong training camps over the last few weeks at which we’ve moved our game on significantly and now we are looking forward to heading to France,” said Middleton.

“We’ve said all along, although we have 28 contracted players, we have a wider pool of players to select from in the Tyrrells Premier 15s and wherever possible we will pick on form, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Abby Dow and Ellena Perry have both shown outstanding form in the opening six rounds.

“Heather [Kerr] has been outstanding for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks. She’s worked really hard on her game from both a physical and rugby perspective and it’s great to see her hard work starting to bear fruit.

“Abby [Dow] has been the best back-three player in the league this season, scoring some fantastic tries. Ellena [Perry] did outstandingly in the Super Series in the summer and we’re pleased she’s back with us.

“Outside of New Zealand, France is one of the toughest places to go and play. It’s a massive challenge but it’s exactly what we want and we can’t wait to get there.

“We play them away again in our opening match at next year’s Women’s Six Nations so it’ll be a good marker of where we are. We’ll focus on what we’ve been working on and hope to turn some of the things we’ve been working on in training into reality onto the field.”

FORWARD

Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury Women – 13 caps)

Sarah Beckett (Harlequins Women – 10 caps)

Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women – 28 caps)

Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women – 14 caps)

Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women – 10 caps)

Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women – 33 caps)

Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning – 21 caps)

Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women – 69 caps)

Sarah Hunter (C) (Loughborough Lightning – 116 caps)

Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks – 19 caps)

Marlie Packer (Saracens Women – 68 caps)

Ellena Perry (Gloucester-Hartpury Women – 7 caps)

Abbie Scott (Harlequins Women – 40 caps)

*Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning: non-playing reserve)

 

BACKS

Jess Breach (Harlequins Women – 7 caps)

Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning – 107 caps)

Abby Dow (Wasps FC Ladies – 6 caps)

Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women – 17 caps)

Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury Women – 47 caps)

Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women – 25 caps)

Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women – 31 caps)

Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning – 82 caps)

Emily Scott (Harlequins Women – 32 caps)

Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors Women – 44 caps)