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England Women to compete in Nations Cup
July 9, 2008

England Women, the RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam champions, will take on Canada and the USA in the inaugural Nations Cup, to be held at Esher RFC, next month.

England, who are also the European Championship winners this season, will strive for another title when they take on the USA on August 22nd and Canada on August 24th. They will also play the two teams in another two tests on August 19th (USA) and August 29th (Canada) outside of the Nations Cup tournament.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: "This is a very exciting tournament for us and crucially it's all about trying to enhance our players' development leading up to the 2010 IRB Rugby World Cup.

"We've identified that we need to have the depth and width across all playing positions if we are going to win the world cup in two years time. The Nations Cup, and the two international tests outside of the tournament, provides us with invaluable fixtures against two of the best sides in women's rugby."

Street has named a strong 30 women squad, with Bath's Catherine Spencer once again leading the side and Saracens' Rachel Burford as vice captain.

The squad includes several players who helped England win the Six Nations title for an unprecedented third time in March, while he has also included a number of up and coming young players like Richmond's Fiona Pocock and Lichfield's Emily Scarratt, who could be set to make her international debut next month.

England last played the USA in December 2007 and triumphed 34-0. They last played Canada in the 2006 IRB Rugby World Cup semi-finals. Then England won 20-14 to go on to finish as World Cup runners-up. Canada finished fourth.

Street added: "There is a real mix of experience and youth in this squad, and for the youngsters this is going to be a very important tournament. We have got quite a few players who have just a couple of caps under their belts, so it's really important that they get some more international experience before next season's RBS 6 Nations."

England Nations Cup squad
Rochelle Clark Henley
Sophie Hemming Clifton
Katy Storie Blaydon Team Northumbria
Rosemarie Crowley Lichfield
Samantha Dale Worcester
Emma Layland Richmond
Amy Garnett Saracens
Tamara Taylor Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
Joanna McGilchrist Wasps
Natalie Binstead Wasps
Karen Jones Richmond
Catherine Spencer (C) Bath
Sarah Hunter Lichfield
Gemma Sharples Worcester
Sarah Beale Leos
Margaret Alphonsi Saracens
Georgina Rozario Plymouth Albion
Amy Turner Richmond
Katy McLean Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
Alice Richardson Richmond
Rachael Burford (VC)Saracens
Kimberley Oliver Clifton
Georgina Roberts Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
Emily Scarratt Lichfield
Francesca Matthews Richmond
Fiona Pocock Richmond
Danielle Waterman Clifton
Michaela Staniford Wasps
Katherine Merchant Worcester
Charlotte Barras Saracens

Match Schedule:
England v USA, August 19th at Esher RFC, KO 7pm
England v USA August 22nd at Esher RFC Nations Cup, KO 7pm
England v Canada August 24th at Esher RFC Nations Cup, KO 5pm
USA v Canada August 26th at Esher RFC Nations Cup, KO 7pm
England v Canada August 29th at Esher RFC, KO 7pm