The Red Roses have won 25 consecutive Tests and are the team to beat in New Zealand

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England Women’s Rugby World Cup Squad 2022

England are unquestionably the team to beat at the 2022 women’s Rugby World Cup.

Simon Middleton’s side have won a record 25 consecutive Tests in a run that dates back to 2019 and includes three perfect Six Nations campaigns.

Most ominously, they have fond memories against the two teams most likely to challenge them for the crown.

The 24-12 victory over France in April, which sealed another Six Nations Grand Slam, was their tenth consecutive win against les Bleues.

Meanwhile, defending world champions New Zealand were brushed aside by a combined margin of 72 points in their two most recent encounters last autumn.

Fiji and South Africa are unlikely to trouble them in the pool stages while France, the other side in their pool, are capable of springing a surprise but will need to reverse England’s recent dominance in the fixture. Even if they lose to France, they should still qualify for the quarter-finals as one of the top two sides in the pool.

The greatest obstacle facing the Red Roses might be history. England have lifted the trophy twice, in 1994 and 2014, but have lost four finals to New Zealand.

If they face the Black Ferns in the final once again, with New Zealand at home and possessing a superb record in World Cups, could they come unstuck?

England possess a squad with world-leading talent in every position– they will be bitterly disappointed if they do not fly home triumphant.

England Women’s Rugby World Cup Squad 2022

Sarah Hunter will captain the Red Roses at the World Cup. She is one of 19 forwards named in Simon Middleton’s squad, which includes 13 backs.

There are six players who were involved in the 2014 World Cup win – Hunter, Emily Scarratt, Marlie Packer, Laura Keates, Alex Matthews and Lydia Thompson. Despite suffering a broken leg during the Six Nations, wing Abby Dow is also included.

However, there is no place for scrum-half Natasha Hunt, who returned to the Red Roses set-up for the Six Nations but has not made the cut for the tournament in New Zealand. Instead, Middleton has opted for Leanne Infante, Claudia MacDonald and Lucy Packer as his scrum-half options.

The other players from the training squad who have not been selected are Amber Reed, Emma Sing, Sarah Beckett, Bryony Cleall, Detysha Harper and Vicky Fleetwood.

Middleton, who was an assistant coach when England won the World Cup in 2014, said: “We are really confident with the balance of the squad. I am pleased with the way the team is gelling and how our game is coming together. There is still plenty to work on, we expect to improve game-on-game.

“While this is a squad announcement and not about singling out individuals, it would be remiss not to reference our captain, Sarah Hunter. Sarah is a better captain now than she has ever been. She has owned the captaincy and how she represents the squad on and off the field is absolutely brilliant.

“When you work with someone for so long you sometimes need to remind yourself of her outstanding attributes, she is unbelievable in how she conducts herself. Her pride in and love of representing her country is as strong as ever. She is a class act and we are very fortunate to have her leading the side at this tournament.”

Backs

(DoB/Club/Position/Caps)

Holly Aitchison (21 Feb 1997/Saracens/Centre/10)

Jess Breach (4 Nov 1997/Saracens/Wing/23)

Abby Dow (29 Sep 1997/Wasps/Wing/24)

Zoe Harrison (14 Apr 1998/Saracens/Fly-half/40)

Tatyana Heard (14 Jan 1995/Gloucester-Hartpury/Centre/Gloucester-Hartpury/5)

Leanne Infante (18 Jul 1993/Saracens/Scrum-half/52)

Ellie Kildunne (8 Sep 1999/Harlequins/Full-back/25)

Claudia MacDonald (4 Jan 1996/Exeter Chiefs/Scrum-half/20)

Sarah McKenna (23 Mar 1989/Saracens/Full-back/42)

Lucy Packer (2 Feb 2000/Harlequins/Scrum-half/5)

Helena Rowland (19 Sep 1999/Loughborough Lightning/Fly-half/17)

Emily Scarratt (8 Feb 1990/Loughborough Lighting/Centre/103)

Lydia Thompson (10 Feb 1992/Worcester Warriors/Wing/54)

Forwards

Zoe Aldcroft (19 Nov 1996/Gloucester-Hartpury/Lock/32)

Sarah Bern (10 Jul 1997/Bristol Bears/Prop/46)

Hannah Botterman (8 Jun 1999/Saracens/Prop/30)

Shaunagh Brown (15 Mar 1990/Harlequins/Prop/27)

Poppy Cleall (12 Jun 1992/Saracens/Back-row/57)

Amy Cokayne (11 Jul 1996/Harlequins/Hooker/64)

Vickii Cornborough (3 Mar 1990/Harlequins/Prop/70)

Lark Davies (3 Mar 1995/Bristol Bears/Hooker/41)

Rosie Galligan (30 Apr 1998/Harlequins/Lock/7)

Sarah Hunter (19 Sep 1985/Loughborough Lightning/Back-row/135)

Sadia Kabeya (22 Feb 2002/Loughborough Lightning/Back-row/4)

Laura Keates (5 Aug 1988/Worcester Warriors/Prop/62)

Alex Matthews (3 Aug 1993/Gloucester-Hartpury/Back-row/51)

Maud Muir (12 Jul 2001/Gloucester-Hartpury/Prop/11)

Cath O’Donnell (13 Jun 1996/Loughborough Lightning/Lock/20)

Marlie Packer (28 Apr 1989/Saracens/Back-row/84)

Connie Powell (13 Jul 2000/Gloucester-Hartpury/Hooker/5)

Morwenna Talling (29 Sep 2002/Loughborough Lightning/Lock/4)

Abbie Ward (27 Mar 1993/Bristol Bears/Lock/56)

England Women’s Rugby World Cup Fixtures 2022

(All kick-off times are UK & Ireland time)

Pool C

Sat 8 Oct, Fiji v England (4.45am, Eden Park, Auckland)

Sat 15 Oct, France v England (8am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Sun 23 Oct, England v South Africa (5.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)