MacDonald and Botterman to start for England in World Cup semi-final

Wing Claudia MacDonald and prop Hannah Botterman named in England’s starting XV for World Cup semi-final against Canada… as head coach Simon Middleton calls on Red Roses to take their game to the next level

  • England head into World Cup semi-final on a 29-match unbeaten run 
  • Wing Claudia MacDonald is fit for Saturday’s showdown with Canada
  • Prop Hannah Botterman also named in England’s starting XV at Eden Park

England head coach Simon Middleton has told his Red Roses players – who are on a 29-match unbeaten run – that they must take their game to a new level to seal World Cup glory.

Middleton has wing Claudia MacDonald back fit to start Saturday’s semi-final with Canada at Auckland’s Eden Park while prop Hannah Botterman also comes into the first-choice XV.

‘Our objective was to leave this country as a better squad than we arrived and to do that we need to move our game on again this week,’ Middleton said. 

Claudia MacDonald (above) is fit for the World Cup semi-final with Canada at Eden Park

Vs Canada (Saturday, Eden Park. Kick-off: 3.30am)

Helena Rowland; Abby Dow, Emily Scarratt, Tatyana Heard, Claudia MacDonald; Zoe Harrison, Leanne Infante; Hannah Botterman, Amy Cokayne, Sarah Bern, Zoe Aldcroft, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter (capt)

Replacements: Lark Davies, Vickii Cornborough, Maud Muir, Rosie Galligan, Poppy Cleall, Lucy Packer, Holly Aitchison, Ellie Kildunne

‘If we do that and produce the level of performance we are capable of then we are confident we will get the right result.’

Middleton has seen England sweep all before them in New Zealand to date. He has kept faith with Helena Rowland and Tatyana Heard at full-back and centre for the Canada clash.

Both players started the quarter-final win over Australia. England’s side has a settled feel to it and they are firm favourites to beat Canada and set up a final with either hosts New Zealand or France. 

Middleton said: ‘I was really pleased with our performance against Australia in what were tough conditions. Continuity is an important factor in team selection.

‘Having said that, if you see an opportunity to improve you have to be brave enough with your selections to make those calls.

‘We have done that throughout the competition to date and that philosophy will not change. 

‘Canada are an opponent we know well with great pedigree and history in the women’s game. We know they are a strong side. We respect all they bring but are focused on our own performance.’

Prop Hannah Botterman also comes into the starting XV for England on Saturday

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