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England close to securing new player payments

Engand's RFU are in talks with the Rugby Players' Association on a payment structure for its senior women’s 15s squad. This will be finalised before the upcoming series against Canada begins and will include an annual EPS squad fee and a match fee for each game played.

The RFU had previously paid its squad on a full-time basis with short term contracts ending at the recent World Cup. That decision was met with criticism, given it left England's players out of a job just days after reaching the World Cup final.

The structure suggested would be novel for the women's game. 

Meanwhile head coach Simon Middleton has named his squad for the three-Test Old Mutual Wealth series against Canada.

28 players have been named including seven new faces in Jo Brown, Jess Breach, Abigail Dow, Zoe Harrison, Ellie Kildunne, Caity Mattinson and Lagi Tuima.

There are 18 England players returning who were part of the Women's Rugby World Cup squad that reached the final in Ireland this summer. 

The squad will convene in camp on the 13 November in Bisham Abbey ahead of the series.

“We’re really excited; we know the challenge will be different this season," said Middleton.

"We have new additions to the squad, a good combination of experience but also some new and exciting talent.

"We have full confidence that they can come up to standard quickly and showcase their talents, with our more experienced players leading from the front and setting the example that the youngsters need to follow.
 
“Our focus this season will be about winning and that will stay top of our agenda. We have indoctrinated a winning culture in the squad last season and we want to keep this winning mentality throughout this one.""Our focus this season will be about winning and that will stay top of our agenda."

Alongside the announcement of the Old Mutual Wealth series squad, England have also named a wider 35-woman Elite Player Squad (EPS) for the 2017/18 season.

Bianca Blackburn, Lauren Cattell, Olivia Jones, Poppy Leitch, Cath O’Donnell, Rachael Woosey and Kelly Smith have all been included in this squad.

Forwards:

Sarah Bern (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Jo Brown (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC), Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies), Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies), Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women), Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies), Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries), Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Justine Lucas (Wasps FC Ladies)
Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol Ladies), Marlie Packer (Saracens Women), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies).

Backs:

Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies), Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies), Charlotte Clapp (Saracens Women), Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Abigail Dow (Wasps FC Ladies), Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women), Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Caity Mattinson (Bristol Ladies), Amber Reed (Bristol Ladies), Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies), Lagi Tuima (Bristol Ladies), Danielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies).

Additional players in Elite Player Squad:

Bianca Blackburn (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Lauren Cattell (Saracens Women), Olivia Jones (Loughborough Lightning), Poppy Leitch (Bristol Ladies), Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning), Rachael Woosey (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Kelly Smith (Gloucester- Hartpury Women’s RFC).

Old Mutual Wealth series 2017

17 November - England Women v Canada @ Allianz Park (KO 19:30, live stream via Englandrugby.com)

21 November - England Women v Canada @ Twickenham Stoop (KO 19:45, broadcast details TBC)

25 November - England Women v Canada @ Twickenham Stadium (KO 17:40, live Sky Sports Arena & Sky Sports Mix)

Tickets

For the game at Allianz Park, tickets must be purchased through the Saracens website and the England Rugby ticketing service for the match at Twickenham Stoop.

No tickets are needed for the final match of the series that will take place at Twickenham Stadium after the England senior men’s game as entry to this match is free.