Three Valkyries picked in England Women squad

Worcester Valkyries stars Rochelle Clark, Laura Keates and Lydia Thompson have all been named in the 32-player England Women squad for the Old Mutual Wealth Series against France, New Zealand and Canada, along with an away fixture against Ireland in November.

With 113 senior England caps to her name, Rochelle Clark stands to become England’s most-capped player, as she looks set to pass Jason Leonard’s record of 114. 

She sits two Tests behind the world’s most-capped women’s player, a record held by Valkyries Director of Rugby and former Scotland international Donna Kennedy.

England Women Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “This season is all about building towards the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland next August. 

“In the Old Mutual Wealth Series, we have the opportunity to take on the best sides in the world.

“We have a first-class squad of players and have a number of options and combinations to choose from.

“The arrival of professional contracts for 15-a-side players means that when the players come into camp next week, we will remain together as a squad for the duration of the Old Mutual Wealth Series. 

“While we are under no illusion as to the challenge we face, these four Tests will provide an integral part of our World Cup preparation ahead of next year.”

The Red Roses will get underway against France at Twickenham Stoop on Wednesday 9 November (kick-off 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports).

The two sides have met twice already this year with one win apiece. England most recently exacted revenge during the Summer Series in Salt Lake City with a 17-13 result following France’s 17-12 title-winning victory during the Six Nations.

The side will then travel to Dublin to face Ireland at Dublin University College on Sunday 13 November (kick-off 2pm), having last met at Twickenham during the Six Nations where the Red Roses enjoyed a 13-9 victory.

They then play New Zealand at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday 19 November with kick off at 12pm ahead of England vs Fiji, before finally taking on Canada (kick-off 5.05pm) following the conclusion of England vs Argentina at Twickenham. 

SQUAD

Forwards
Zoe Aldcroft (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Sarah Bern (Bristol)
Emily Braund (Lichfield)
Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries)
Poppy Cleall (Bristol)
Amy Cokayne (Lichfield)
Vickii Cornborough (Aylesford Bulls)
Emma Croker (Richmond)
Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens)
Sarah Hunter (Bristol)
Justine Lucas (Lichfield)
Alex Matthews (Richmond)
Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol)
Marlie Packer (Bristol)
Laura Keates (Worcester Valkyries)
Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)

Backs
Claire Allan (Saracens)
Rachael Burford (n/a)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Megan Jones (Bristol)
La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens)
Fiona Pocock (Aylesford Bulls)
Amber Reed (Bristol)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Emily Scott (Saracens)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries)
Danielle Waterman (Bristol)
Kay Wilson (Richmond)
Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol)

Old Mutual Wealth Series
England vs France, Wednesday 9 November, Twickenham Stoop, 7.45pm. Tickets on sale now.
Ireland vs England, Sunday 13 November*, University College Dublin, 2pm
England vs New Zealand, Saturday 19 November, Twickenham Stoop, 12pm. Tickets on sale now.
England vs Canada, Saturday 26 November, Twickenham, 5.05pm – FREE entry after the conclusion of the men’s game

*Not part of Old Mutual Wealth Series