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England Women: Middleton has 11 non-team players in their squad

Abby Dow shone in England’s last international match against France

England’s head coach Simon Middleton has added eleven players to the 40-man squad for the international matches in the autumn.

The two games against world champions New Zealand, followed by the games against Canada and the USA, will be broadcast live on BBC Two.

The first game against the Black Ferns will take place in Exeter on Sunday, October 31st.

Middleton want the uncapped players to take their chance a year before the rugby World Cup ends.

“We have a lot of potential debutants in the squad who are there because they have impressed in the league or have been on our radar for some time and have improved their game again this season,” he said.

“That’s what we wanted from them. We wanted the players to put their hand in the league and that’s why they were chosen accordingly.”

“I’ve talked to players about taking the opportunity they have now instead of looking forward to another World Cup.

“Sometimes opportunities come, but they never come again, so you have to seize them while they are in front of you.”

Unlimited players include Exeter couple Flo Robinson and Merryn Doidge, who missed being capped earlier in the year than a floodlight failure in France prevented them from being used from the bank.

Bristol’s Sarah Bern is up for her first international appearance in a year after missing most of the 2020/21 season due to injury.

One notable absentee from the roster is Waspfly half Meg Jones, who turned down an XVs contract to play Sevens instead. Middleton has stated that players can no longer switch between codes.

Loughborough Lightning’s Helena Rowland and Worcester’s Alex Matthews had moved back from the short form of the game, but Jones has chosen to stay with Sevens.

The second game against New Zealand will take place in Northampton on Saturday 7 November. The Twickenham Stoop is the venue for the clash against Canada on Saturday 14 November before the final against the USA at Worcester Sixways Stadium a week later.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer the BBC even more top-class sport for women,” said BBC Sport Director Barbara Slater.

“We look forward to bringing the Rote Rosen striving to the widest possible audience in a highly competitive series of games.”

England squad

Forward: Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), Sarah Beckett (Harlequins), Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears), Hannah Botterman (Saracens), Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins), Bryony Cleall (Wasps), Poppy Cleall (Saracens), Amy Cokayne (Harlequins) , Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins), Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning), Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens), Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning), Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning), Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning), Alex Matthews (Worcester Warriors), Harriet Millar -Mills (Wasps), Maud Muir (Wasps), Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning), Marlie Packer (Saracens), Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury), Emily Robinson (Harlequins), Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears)

Backs: Holly Aitchison (Saracens), Jess Breach (Harlequins), Heather Cowell (Harlequins), Merryn Doidge (Exeter Chiefs), Abby Dow (Wasps), Zoe Harrison (Saracens), Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins), Claudia MacDonald (Wasps), Sarah McKenna (Saracens), Lucy Packer (Harlequins), Amber Reed (Bristol Bears), Leanne Riley (Bristol Bears), Flo Robinson (Exeter Chiefs), Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning), Emma Sing (Gloucester-Hartpury), Lydia Thompson ( Worcester Warriors), Lagi Tuima (Harlequins), Ella Wyrwas (Saracens).

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