Daley-Mclean set for 100th England cap
Katy Daley-Mclean will earn her 100th international cap for England in the Red Roses’ opening Quilter Internationals Test against USA Women at Allianz Park on Friday (KO 7.30pm, live on Sky Sports Arena).
England Women Head Coach Simon Middleton will cap four new players in the starting 15, with two additional new names on the bench.
Saracens prop Ellena Perry starts at loosehead with Firwood Waterloo teenager Sarah Beckett at No.8 and in the backs, centres Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury) and Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning) start at 12 and 13 respectively.
With regular Red Roses captain Sarah Hunter on the bench for this opening game, Harlequins lock Abbie Scott is named to lead the side. Additionally from the bench, Wasps scrum-half Claudia Macdonald and Bristol Bears centre Lucy Attwood will be looking for their first international appearance.
Daley-Mclean, who earned her first England cap against Scotland in 2007, captained England to victory in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup before going on to represent Team GB in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Starting at fly half, the 32-year-old brings considerable experience to the young side alongside fellow 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup squad members Scott, Vicky Fleetwood, Zoe Aldcroft, Lydia Thompson, plus Hunter, Heather Kerr and Vickii Cornborough among the substitutes.
Middleton said: “We know where we are and there’s a lot of excitement among the squad to start a new international season. We have new talent among the group who have developed their rugby through the pathway and Tyrrells Premier 15s and bring a mix of rugby backgrounds to the set up. It’s important to give players opportunities and there is a lot to play for.
“The USA are match ready from their game against the Black Ferns and will be hardened and wiser for last weekend. Like them, we are ready and expect a tough game on Friday.”
Marking Daley-Mclean’s milestone 100th cap, he added: “Katy is one of the greatest women’s players ever. It’s a remarkable achievement to get 100 caps for your country, especially considering she took time out in the sevens programme to represent Team GB in the Olympics.
“She has everything; an accomplished skillset, ability and a thorough understanding of the game. Katy is a great asset to England, a natural leader and an inspirational player. She knows how to inspire a team and is a great on-field motivator.”
Of the captaincy he said: “Abbie is a natural leader and a rugby smart player, she will do a great job.”
USA Women arrive in the UK having played the Black Ferns on Sunday, losing their first game since the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals. They most recently played the Red Roses in Ireland last summer, with England coming out 47-26 winners in the opening pools.
Wasps FC Ladies wing Abby Dow has been ruled out of the three Tests through ankle injury, with Millie Wood (Gloucester-Hartpury) called in to the wider squad as replacement.
England Women match-day 23
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 14 caps)
14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries, 38 caps)
13. Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning, uncapped)
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, uncapped)
11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 2 caps)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 99 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins, 21 caps)
1. Ellena Perry (Saracens, uncapped)
2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 10 caps)
3. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins, 2 caps)
4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 6 caps)
5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins, 29 caps) ©
6. Joanna Brown (Loughborough Lightning, 1 cap)
7. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 65 caps)
8. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo, uncapped)
16. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 13 caps)
17. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 39 caps)
18. Hannah Botterman (Saracens, 2 caps)
19. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 4 caps)
20. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 105 caps)
21. Claudia Macdonald (Wasps FC Ladies, uncapped)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 5 caps)
23. Lucy Attwood (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
2018 Quilter Internationals
- England Women v USA Women - Friday 9 November - Allianz Park (KO 7.45pm, Sky Sports Arena)
- England Women v Canada Women - Sunday 18 November - Castle Park (KO 2pm, Sky Sports Facebook and EnglandRugby.com)
- England Women v Ireland Women - Saturday 24 November - Twickenham Stadium (KO 5.40pm, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix)