Marley Packer will captain England for the first time in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup clash with South Africa.
The 2014 World Cup-winning winger will line up alongside Poppy Cleal and Morwenna Talling in the back row. Top seed Zoe Harrison will be vice-captain of head coach Simon Middleton’s side, who have the chance to top Group C and have the most favorable route into the knockout phase.
“Marley is a world-class player, a very popular member of the group, supportive on and off the pitch and plays a huge role in the management of the team,” Middleton said. “I know all the player and staff are delighted to have her leading the team this week and she’s very proud of it as well.
“I was very happy with the game against France. We dominated most of the contest and I felt the score did not reflect the game as a whole. We know we’ll need to be more clinical going forward but our game management was world class, we hardly gave France a look in and the way we finished the game showed all the composure we’ve come to expect from a team.
“The game against South Africa is a hugely important fixture as it dictates our progress and route into the quarter-finals. It’s also the first time most of our starting XV have started a World Cup match, something to celebrate for everyone individually and collectively. We’re all very excited to see them go.”
The England team will meet with South Africa S. McKenna (Saracens), A. Dow (Wasps), H. Aitchison (Saracens), T. Hurd (Gloucester-Hartpury), J. Breach, Z Harrison (both Saracens), L Packer (Harlequins), H Boterman (Saracens), C Powell , M Muir (both Gloucester-Hartpury), R Galligan (Harlequins), C O’Donnell, M Talling ( both Laughborough Lightning), M Packer, P Cleall (both Saracens). Subs: A Cockayne, V Cornborough (both Harlequins), S Bern (Bristol), Z Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), S Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning), L Infante (Saracens), E Scarratt, H Rowland (both Laughborough Lightning).