England name squad to face New Zealand in Rugby World Cup final with three changes to backline | Rugby Union News

Lydia Thompson, Ellie Kildunne and Holly Aitchison come into the starting XV for the Red Roses; England will take on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday at Eden Park, with kick-off at 6.30am

Last Updated: 09/11/22 9:30pm

Sarah Hunter will captain England as they take on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final.

England have announced their squad for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand, with head coach Simon Middleton opting for three changes to his backline.

Ellie Kildunne comes into the full-back position in place of the injured Helena Rowland, with Lydia Thompson on the right wing and Holly Aitchison starting at the inside centre position.

They line up alongside Abbie Dow on the left wing, who scored a length of the pitch try in the semi-final victory, the ever-present Emily Scarratt at number 13, while Leanne Infante and Zoe Harrison will control proceedings from scrum-half and fly-half.

England will head to a sold-out Eden Park with an intact forward pack from their narrow last four win over Canada, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Abbie Ward, Zoe Aldcroft and Sarah Hunter making up the pack alongside Vickii Cornborough, Amy Cokayne and Sarah Bern in the front row.

Hunter will lead out the side at number eight, Scarratt lining up as her vice-captain for the huge occasion.

Cath O’Donnell also returns to the matchday 23 and is among the substitutes alongside Lark Davies, Maud Muir, Shaunagh Brown, Poppy Cleall, Sadia Kabeya, Claudia MacDonald and Tatyana Heard.

Former England international Will Greenwood says he is 'fully confident' England will beat New Zealand in the Women's Rugby World Cup final.

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Former England international Will Greenwood says he is ‘fully confident’ England will beat New Zealand in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final.

Former England international Will Greenwood says he is ‘fully confident’ England will beat New Zealand in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final.

Alongside Rowland, Hannah Botterman also misses the game due to injury, Botterman suffering a knee injury in training last week while Rowland sustained a foot injury in last Saturday’s semi-final.

Head coach Middleton expressed the pride he has in how his squad has performed throughout the entire tournament and is ready to “embrace the challenge” of Saturday with his side.

“I could not be any prouder of the squad, how we have conducted ourselves and how we have performed,” said Middleton.

“We set ourselves an objective to leave this country a better squad than when we arrived and regardless of what happens on Saturday we will do that.

“The way the squad and staff have come together both on and off the field has been fantastic to be a part of and will be a huge part of this team’s legacy after the World Cup.

“You are always striving to create something special in team sport and we have done that with this group of Red Roses.

“We know in our heart of hearts that this will more than likely be the last time this group all come together, but what they have created and achieved will live on for a long time.

“With success comes scrutiny and the inevitable pressure that brings with it. This squad has stood up to all of that and more and that is testimony to their ability, resilience and unwavering belief in each other.

“When things get tough, this team knows how to get going, that is why we are relishing Saturday and all that it will bring.

“There can be no bigger challenge in sport than to play the world champions in their own backyard in front of a sell-out crowd – 99.9 per cent of which will be forming part of the opposition.

“Great teams don’t fear those challenges, they embrace them, and meet them head-on, that’s what we intend to do.”

England squad: 15. Ellie Kildunne, 14. Lydia Thompson,13. Emily Scarratt (VC),12. Holly Aitchison, 11. Abby Dow, 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Leanne Infante, 1. Vickii Cornborough, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Zoe Aldcroft, 5. Abbie Ward , 6. Alex Matthews, 7. Marlie Packer 8. Sarah Hunter (C)

Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Maud Muir, 18. Shaunagh Brown, 19. Cath O’Donnell, 20. Poppy Cleall, 21. Sadia Kabeya, 22. Claudia MacDonald, 23. Tatyana Heard

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