England will attempt to extend their winning run to 18 matches against the Eagles at Sixways on Sunday
Red Roses v USA Preview – Autumn Internationals
The Red Roses could extend their winning streak to 18 games with a victory over the USA at Sixways on Sunday afternoon.
That would equal England men’s longest unbeaten run, achieved between 2015 and 2017, yet they would still have a way to go to better previous women’s sides.
World Rugby statistics show that the Black Ferns won 22 consecutive Tests between 2001 and 2009 while England’s women put together 23 straight Test victories from 1992 to 1997. There was also a 20-match winning run from 2007 to 2009 by the Red Roses.
Simon Middleton’s side are clear favourites to equal the men’s record this weekend after resounding wins over the world champions New Zealand as well as Canada in recent weeks, and should they carry their form into 2022 – World Cup year – they could set a new world record for consecutive wins in the women’s international game too.
Before the autumn matches began, Middleton said he wanted to use the games as a platform to see where they go next. He has experimented with his team, blooded new players and widened his leadership group.
Plus, the Red Roses have continued to grow their audience. Not only have decent crowds been in attendance at their matches but 1m people watched the Canada match on TV last weekend, an increase on the six-figure viewing figures for the two-Test Black Ferns series.
They will be aiming for a similar figure this weekend against the USA. Rob Cain’s side come into the match on the back of three straight defeats this month – two to Canada and one to Ireland – but Middleton is wary of their “unpredictability”.
Here are all the details for the match in our Red Roses v USA preview.
What’s the big Red Roses v USA team news?
Fresh from her World Rugby Player of the Year nomination, Gloucester-Hartpury lock Zoe Aldcroft has been named Red Roses captain for the first time.
Elsewhere, Simon Middleton has continued to rotate his squad. Abby Dow shifts from wing to full-back while Helena Rowland starts her first Test at No 10 since the Six Nations, with Lagi Tuima and Holly Aitchison outside. Leanne Infante returns at scrum-half while wing Lydia Thompson will win her 50th cap.
Wasps prop Maud Muir makes her first Test start while Sarah Beckett has recovered from a knee injury to start at No 8. There are two possible debutants and another 50-capper on the bench too – Connie Powell and Lucy Packer the newbies and Rowena Burnfield in line for the milestone.
What have the coaches said?
Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton: “Leadership comes in many different forms. Zoe Aldcroft has her own style based around actions not words. It’s a style that resonates with our coaching team and one that is massively respected across the squad, so from that side it was a simple choice for us and in line with how we have approached this series of games.
“It gives us and her more key learning and development opportunities. Zoe is one of the first names on our team sheet. Her leadership in our forward pack, set-piece and in particular the lineout is exceptional. She thoroughly deserves the opportunity to lead her country out.”
What time does it kick-off and is Red Roses v USA on TV?
The match will kick-off at 2.45pm on Sunday 21 November at Sixways Stadium.
Referee Julianne Zussman, assistants Doriane Domenjo and Francesca Martin, and TMO Ian Davies will officiate the fixture.
The game will be shown live on BBC Two.
What are the line-ups?
Red Roses: Abby Dow; Lydia Thompson, Holly Aitchison, Lagi Tuima, Heather Cowell; Helena Rowland, Leanne Infante; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Maud Muir, Harriet Millar-Mills, Zoe Aldcroft (captain), Alex Matthews, Sadia Kabeya, Sarah Beckett.
Replacements: Connie Powell, Hannah Botterman, Sarah Bern, Rowena Burnfield, Sarah Hunter, Lucy Packer, Zoe Harrison, Ellie Kildunne.
USA: McKenzie Hawkins; Jennine Detiveaux, Amy Talei Bonte, Katana Howard, Kayla Canett; Megan Foster, Carly Waters; Hope Rogers, Saher Hamdan, Charli Jacoby, Hallie Taufoou, Alycia Washington, Rachel Ehrecke, Kate Zackary (captain), Kristine Sommer.
Replacements: Kathryn Treder, Maya Learned, Nick James, Jenny Kronish, Elizabeth Cairns, Olivia Ortiz, Joanne Fa’avesi, Sarah Levy.
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