Davies and Thompson in England Super Series squad

Valkyries pair Lark Davies and Lydia Thompson have been named in England’s 28-strong squad for the Women’s Rugby Super Series in San Diego at the end of this month.

The squad, which assembled at Bisham Abbey on Monday, will be looking to build on this season’s Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam success and recent victory over Barbarians Women at Twickenham Stadium.

Valkyries captain and hooker Davies scored a hat-trick of tries against the Barbarians while wing Thompson made her England comeback having recovered from the injury that ruled her out of this season’s Six Nations.

Having made their debut senior England outing in that Barbarians fixture, uncapped duo Chloe Edwards (Harlequins Ladies) and Clara Neilsen (Bristol Bears Women) are added to the Red Roses for the Super Series.

Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo Ladies) and Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning) return following injury, while Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), who was a replacement for Barbarians Women against England two weekends ago, re-joins the Red Roses squad as it runs through final preparations before heading out to the USA.

England Women Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “I’ve been really pleased with how this new generation of Red Roses has been developing since January.

“We’ve been looking to continually improve our performance every time we take to the pitch, be that in training or a match, and we want to build on that as we complete our final preparations for San Diego.

“This camp and another one that we have next week are about focussing on ourselves. They will allow us to work on key areas and keep developing our game, as well as giving us the opportunity to reintegrate a number of players who are coming back after time out with injury.

Middleton added: “The Super Series promises to be a superb competition and a great challenge against high-quality opposition. It will provide us with perfect platform to see exactly where we are as a squad and just as crucially how far we still have to go in order to reach the levels we aspire to”.

“For us it’s about taking what we’ve worked on in training into matches and really looking to challenge our performances levels under the pressure of high calibre competition. It’s about taking our game to the next level.

“We’re going to find out a lot about this group of players as well. It will be an important experience for them and there will be a real test of character and resilience with some four-day turnarounds. The level at which we can repeat perform under pressure will ultimately tell us where we are as a group at this point.

“I think fans can expect some cracking games to really showcase women’s rugby and what we’re capable of as an international competition. We’ve been given a platform; now we want to do that justice and be part of a really ground-breaking tournament.”

England Women squad

Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury Women)
Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo Ladies)
Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women)
Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women)
Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women)
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies)
Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries)
Chloe Edwards (Harlequins Ladies)
Sarah Hunter (Captain, Loughborough Lightning)
Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Clara Neilson (Bristol Bears Women)
Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning)
Marlie Packer (Saracens Women)
Ellena Perry (Saracens Women)
Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies)

Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women)
Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury Women)
Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury Women)
Claudia MacDonald (Wasps FC Ladies)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women)
Amber Reed (Bristol Bears Women)
Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies)
Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning)
Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies)
Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury Women)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries)
Lagi Tuima (Bristol Bears Women)
Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning)

Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019 Schedule

June 28
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
• Canada v New Zealand
• England v USA

July 2
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
• France v Canada
• New Zealand v USA

July 6
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
• France v New Zealand
• Canada v England

July 10
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
• England v France
• Canada v USA

July 14
San Diego State University’s Torero Stadium
• France v USA
• New Zealand v England