England have made seven changes to the team that beat Canada for the International Women’s Rugby Series decider against New Zealand.
The Red Roses are two from two so far in the series having beaten Australia 53-10 in Wellington and a hard fought 27-20 victory over Canada in Christchurch. The Black Ferns are also undefeated in the series, overcoming Canada 28-16 and Australia 44-17.
Scrum-half Natasha Hunt starts alongside full-back Danielle Waterman who makes her 70th international appearance, having made her England debut in 2003.
In the scrum, Sarah Bern who earned her first international start against Australia returns to the front row with prop Justine Lucas on the bench. Tamara Taylor starts at lock with Alex Matthews in at blindside flanker.
Katy Mclean who captained the Red Roses side in their victorious opening game against Australia, starts at fly-half with Rachael Burford, who assisted in three of England’s nine tries against Australia at inside centre. Try scorer Kay Wilson who came off the bench against Canada, starts on the left wing.
“This series has allowed us to test ourselves against the best teams in the world,” said England coach Simon Middleton.
“Coming into the final Test, it’s now about making sure we deliver and don’t leave anything on the field. It’s our last big game and opportunity to put in a good performance before we head back to England and focus on final preparations for the Women’s Rugby World Cup and we want to make it count.
“The game against the Black Ferns will be a major challenge and one that we want to face head on, we want the players to go out an express themselves and show what they are capable of.
“We have full confidence in our squad and looking at final selection for this game, it’s a good blend of experience and younger players. We are looking forward to a big performance against the Black Ferns.”
The Black Ferns have made three changes with Rawinia Everitt and Linda Itunu return after recovering from injury, while Chelsea Alley will have her first start for the year after sustaining an ankle injury in May’s trial.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday. The English are a good side – they are World Champions and have won their last two matches here in New Zealand,” said head coach Glenn Moore.
“They had to fight pretty hard against the Canadians but we know they will bring physicality and they have some pace out on the edges. We will need to put in our best performance.
England: 15 Danielle Waterman,14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Emily Scarratt,12 Rachael Burford, 11 Kay Wilson, 10 Katy Mclean , 9 Natasha Hunt, 1 Rochelle Clark, 2 Amy Cokayne, 3 Sarah Bern, 4 Tamara Taylor, 5 Abbie Scott, 6 Alex Matthews,7 Marlie Packer, 8 Sarah Hunter (c).
16 Vicky Fleetwood, 17 Vickii Cornborough, 18 Justine Lucas,19 Harriet Millar-Mills, 20 Izzy Noel-Smith, 21 La Toya Mason, 22 Amber Reed,23 Emily Scott.
New Zealand: 15 Selica Winiata,14 Portia Woodman, 13 Stacey Waaka, 12 Chelsea Alley, 11 Renee Wickliffe, 10 Kelly Brazier, 9 Kendra Cocksedge; 1 Toka Natua, 2 Fiao’o Faamausili, 3 Aldora Itunu, 4 Eloise Blackwell, 5 Charmaine Smith, 6 Rawinia Everitt, 7 Sarah Goss, 8 Linda Itunu.
16 Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, 17 Sosoli Talawadua, 18 Aleisha Nelson, 19 Becky Wood, 20 Charmaine McMenamin, 21 Kristina Sue, 22 Victoria Subritsky-Nafatali, 23 Honey Hireme.