WXV1: England Red Roses team to play Canada - Ruck

WXV1: England Red Roses team to play Canada

England Women’s Head Coach John Mitchell and Interim Head Coach Louis Deacon have made nine changes to the Red Roses, ahead of their second match in WXV1. England began their campaign with a one-sided 42-7 win over Australia last Friday, with a tougher test expected in tomorrow’s match against Canada.

Ellie Kildunne of England Red Roses during the international friendly match between England Red Roses and Canada women at Sandy Park, Exeter on 23rd Sept 2023. Photo: Izzy Ninnis/PPAUK

England took on Canada twice in August, with back-to-back wins at Exeter’s Sandy Park (50-24) and Saracen’s Stone X Stadium (29-12). Prior to this, the two sides met in the semi-final of the 2021 Rugby World Cup (played in 2022) which saw England record a 26-19 victory in New Zealand. Mitchell and Deacon have made some key alterations, including moving Loughborough Lightning’s Helena Rowland from fullback to the centres. Speaking in the pre-match media, Deacon said;

“The pleasing thing is, it that it is a very experienced squad. We’ve picked, I think it’s 785-odd caps. So yeah, experience is always helpful, I suppose when you come against the best teams. Canada poses a lot of problems when we played them in in the summer service. So we’re expecting the same again, and I think picking an experienced side is only going to help us.”

Helena Rowland of England Women kicks the conversion during the TikTok Womens Six Nations Match between England Women and France Women at Twickenham, London on 29 April 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

“Basically, when you’ve got a squad of 30 players and you’ve come to the other side of the world, you’ve got to have players that are adaptable. You know, that first game was about giving people opportunities, and we looked at combinations. And that was one of the combinations that we looked at, with the centres that started, it meant that Helena was going to have to play fullback. But like I say, players need to be first versatile when you’ve got 30 available.”

A re-freshed front row sees Mackenzie Carson, Lark Atkin-Davies and Sarah Bern replace Hannah Botterman, Connie Powell and Maud Muir. Cath O’Donell comes in for Rosie Gilligan in the second row, with Morwenna Talling preferred on the blindside flank over newcomer Maisy Allen.

Try Celebrations for Sarah Bern of England Women as she goes over for a try during the TikTok Womens Six Nations match between England Women and Wales Women at Kingsholm Stadium on April 9 2022 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

A shuffled back-line sees Natasha Hunt start at scrum-half over Ella Wywras, with a newly formed midfield partnership seeing Helena Rowland partner up with Amber Reed. The back-three is formed of Claudia MacDonald, Abby Dow and Ellie Kildunne, with Jess Breach dropped to the bench.


15. Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins)

14. Abby Dow (Ealing Trailfinders)

13. Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning)

12. Amber Reed (Bristol Bears)

11. Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs)

10. Holly Aitchison (Bristol Bears)

9. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury)

Natasha Hunt of England Women Rugby (Gloucester-Hartpury, 59 caps) spins the ball out during the England Women Rugby and USA WomenÕs Rugby at Sandy Park on 3 Sept 2022. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK.

1. Mackenzie Carson (Gloucester-Hartpury)

2. Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears)

3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears)

4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury)

5. Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning)

6. Morwenna Talling (Sale Sharks)

7. Marlie Packer (captain) (Saracens)

8. Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury)

Alex Matthews of England Women on the break during the TikTok Womens Six Nations match between England Women and Wales Women at Kingsholm Stadium on April 9 2022 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

16. Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury)

17. Hannah Botterman (Bristol Bears)

18. Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury)

19. Rosie Galligan (Harlequins)

20. Maisy Allen (Exeter Chiefs)

21. Ella Wyrwas (Saracens)

22. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury)

23. Jess Breach (Saracens)

Be sure to set you alarms for tomorrow’s morning match, as England kick off against Canada at 07:00am, on Friday October 27th. All the England and Wales WXV1 matches are shown live on ITVX.