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Shock omission flagged in England's World Cup squad

By Ian Cameron
Red Rose head coach Simon Middleton /PA

Sources in the UK are reporting that Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt is set to miss out on England Women’s Rugby World Cup squad.

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Red Roses Head coach Simon Middleton’s finalised squad for the competition in New Zealand is set to be named on Tuesday and Hunt appears to be the big-name casualty.

Fellow scrum-halves Lucy Packer and Claudia MacDonald are set to be named ahead of her, with Hunt failing to make the plane according to reports.

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Women’s rugby reporter and commentator Nick Heath wrote on Twitter that: “News emerging that Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt has missed out on a place in Simon Middleton’s final England 32 for #RWC2021. Gutted for a player who has become a friend and whose World Cup winning experience I’d have put on that plane. Infante, MacDonald & L Packer to go. Big, big call.”

Last weekend England continued their World Cup preparations in landmark fashion as they crushed Wales 73-7 at Ashton Gate. It was the Red Roses’ 25th successive victory – a feat no Test nation, male or female, had previously accomplished.

Earlier in the month Middleton had flagged that there were still plenty of 50-50 calls to be made.

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“It is a little bit of a discovery game in terms of just some final choices,” Middleton said, ahead of the Sandy Park encounter.

“We have been training for eight weeks, so we are absolutely desperate to play.

“The players have had a brilliant period of preparation since the start of July – the longest run-in we’ve had in pre-season – and have worked tirelessly to ensure we are in the best possible place.

“Sometimes in sport, opportunities are limited, and with just the two matches before the tournament in New Zealand this is one of those occasions.

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“There are a few combinations we want to look at, there are some individual performances we want to look at, and off the back of this we are probably going to make some 50-50 calls on the (World Cup) squad.

“We are close (to the final 32), but I would say there are at least four or five calls that we are going to have to make.”

additional reporting PA

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