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England boosted by returning stars for Canada semi-final

By PA
WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 15: Claudia MacDonald of England is tackled during the Pool C Rugby World Cup 2021 match between France and England at Northland Events Centre on October 15, 2022, in Whangarei, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

England have made two changes for Saturday’s World Cup semi-final against Canada at Auckland’s Eden Park.

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Claudia MacDonald returns from injury to replace Lydia Thompson on the wing and Hannah Botterman comes in for the benched Vickii Cornborough at loosehead prop.

Sarah Hunter, England’s most capped player, leads the team from number eight with Emily Scarratt present at outside centre.

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“Continuity is an important factor in team selection and we have achieved that through training, the pool stages and the quarter-final,” head coach Simon Middleton said.

“Having said that, if you see an opportunity to improve or create different pictures that you believe could benefit the team’s performance, 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.

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“We know they are a strong side. We respect all they might bring but are focused on our own performance.”

England: H Rowland (Loughborough Lightning), A Dow (Wasps), E Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning), T Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury), C MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs), Z Harrison (Saracens), L Infante (Saracens), H Botterman (Saracens), A Cokayne (Harlequins), S Bern (Bristol Bears), Z Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), A Ward (Bristol Bears), A Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury), M Packer (Saracens), S Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, capt).

Replacements: L Davies (Bristol Bears), V Cornborough (Harlequins), M Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury), R Galligan (Harlequins), P Cleall (Saracens), L Packer (Harlequins), H Aitchison (Saracens), E Kildunne (Harlequins).

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