Women’s Rugby World Cup: England makes six changes for USA decider

England are the defending champions in Ireland
Women’s Rugby World Cup: England v USA
Date: 17 August Time: 14:30 BST Venue: Billings Park, Dublin
Coverage details: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentary (online only) and live text on the BBC Sport website

England women have made six changes for their Pool B World Cup decider with the USA in Dublin on Thursday.

Both sides are unbeaten and the winner of the match will automatically qualify for next week’s semi-finals in Belfast.

Sarah Hunter returns to captain the side at number eight, while prop Sarah Bern has recovered from a sprained ankle to start at tight-head.

Kay Wilson, who scored four tries in the opening 56-5 win against Spain, returns to the wing.

Full-back Danielle Waterman is the only player to have started every game for the reigning world champions.

Hooker Vicky Fleetwood will start from the bench after joining up late with the squad as she continues to recover from a knee ligament injury.

“This is a winner-takes-all game in terms of topping the pool and will require a full 23 squad effort to get the job done,” said head coach Simon Middleton.

Following the Spain victory, England beat Italy 56-13 on Sunday, while the USA beat Italy 24-12 and Spain 43-0 in their two pool games.

Middleton added: “We know playing against USA will be tough. They play a very physical game and have some dangerous players on the ball, but we have prepared well and the squad are in a good place, not only physically but mentally.

“We have confidence in the entire squad and it’s now about going out and making sure we put in a full 80-minute performance.”

The Red Roses have played USA in four previous World Cups, winning three and losing once.

World Cup Pool B
P W D L F A Bon Pts
England 2 2 0 0 112 18 2 10
USA 2 2 0 0 67 12 2 10
Italy 2 0 0 2 25 80 0 0
Spain 2 0 0 2 5 99 0 0

England team: Danielle Waterman, Amy Wilson Hardy, Emily Scarratt, Amber Reed, Kay Wilson, Katy Mclean, Natasha Hunt; Vickii Cornborough, Amy Cokayne, Sarah Bern. Abbie Scott, Tamara Taylor, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter.

Replacements: Vicky Fleetwood, Rochelle Clark, Justine Lucas, Poppy Cleall, Harriet Millar-Mills, Leanne Riley, Rachael Burford, Megan Jones.

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