As part of their buildup to a three-test Autumn Series against Canada, England will take part in two behind-closed-doors training games against South Africa on October 18th and 22nd in Aldershot.
Head Coach Simon Middleton has named an extended training squad to take part in a camp in Bisham Abbey this weekend and after that a small squad will be chosen to play in the games against South Africa.
Simon Middleton said: “This year we are doing things differently and bringing together an extended training squad of 43 players with the objective being twofold; firstly to allow us to select the strongest squad for the upcoming season and secondly give new talent invaluable playing opportunities as part of an international training team in games against South Africa. Off the back of the training camp and training games we’ll reduce the extended training squad numbers and name an EPS squad, who we feel is right for the upcoming season.
“We are really excited about the new, young players coming into camp for the first time. We know and have seen players in the past who have made unbelievable gains, when you get them in the right environment at the right time.
“In the long term we are working towards our objective to build and prepare a squad with real depth for the next Womens World Cup in 2021. We are confident these young players can, and will develop as the next generation of international players. It’s crucial we expose them to the international environment at an early stage as part of their development if we are to meet this objective.
“In the short term, we don’t want to go into a period of consolidation, we want to keep moving forward and keep winning”.
In surprising news, World Cup winner Kay Wilson has confirmed that she will retire from international rugby this season. The winger has played 49 times for England and featured in the last two Women’s Rugby World Cups.
Middleton added: “While we are sad to see Kay retire from international rugby we want to thank her for her outstanding contribution to the game over the past number of years. Kay is a world-class player and role model for women’s rugby who has inspired many young players to get involved in the game. We wish her all the best with her next endeavour.”
Kay Wilson said: “I genuinely didn’t think I would ever get one cap for England so to finish my career on 49 is something that I am really proud of. I’ve been very fortunate to have played in two World Cups, win two Six Nations gram slams and meet and play alongside some amazing people but now I feel it’s time for the next chapter in my life.”
England training squad for Bisham Abbey camp
Rochelle Clarke (Wasps FC Ladies)
Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Sarah Bern (Gloucester-Hartpury)
Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies)
Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Marlie Packer (Saracens Women)
Poppy Leitch (Bristol Ladies)
Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning)
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies)
Justine Lucas (Wasps FC Ladies)
Harriett Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies)
Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women)
Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC)
Jessie Hood(Bristol Ladies)
Abbie Parsons (Bristol Ladies)
Hannah West (Wasps FC Ladies)
Alex Powell (Wasps FC Ladies)
Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning)
Courtney Gill (Gloucester -Hartpury)
Olivia Jones (Loughborough Lightning)
Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women)
Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries)
Molly Morrisey (Gloucester- Hartpury)
Jo Brown (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol Ladies)
Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies)
Amber Reed (Bristol Ladies)
Dannielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies)
Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies)
Lotte Clapp (Saracens Women)
Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies)
Rachael Woosey (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Celia Quansah (Loughborough Lightning)
Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women)
Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury)
Abbie Dow (Wasps FC Ladies)
Lagi Tuima (Bristol Ladies)
Lucy Attwood (Bristol Ladies)
Brooke Bradley (Bristol Ladies)
Charlotte Pearce (Loughborough Lightning)
Lauren Cattell (Saracens Women)
Kelly Smith (Gloucester- Hartpury)