Claudia MacDonald starts for England in World Cup semi-finals against Canada

England coach Simon Middleton
England coach Simon Middleton

England coach Simon Middleton has named wing Claudia MacDonald in the matchday squad for the Rugby World Cup semi-final against Canada to be played in Auckland on Saturday.

MacDonald replaces Lydia Thompson at left wing with Abby Dow remaining at right wing. Helena Rowland retains her fullback position with vice-captain Emily Scarratt being part of the midfield that also has Tatyana Heard at number 12.

Zoe Harrison continue to start at number 10 forming halfback partnership with scrum half Leanne Infante Hannah Botterman enters the starting line-up at loose-head prop forming front row combination with Amy Cokayne and Sarah Bern.

Middleton has named Lark Davies, Vickii Cornborough, Maud Muir, Rosie Galligan, Poppy Cleall, Lucy Packer, Holly Aitchison and Ellie Kildunne on the bench as they aim to reach the final.

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

"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. We know they are a strong side. We respect all they might bring but are focussed on our own performance."

England XV: 15. Helena Rowland, 14. Abby Dow, 13. Emily Scarratt, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Claudia MacDonald, 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Leanne Infante; 1. Hannah Botterman, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Zoe Aldcroft, 5. Abbie Ward, 6. Alex Matthews, 7. Marlie Packer , 8. Sarah Hunter

Reserves: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Vickii Cornborough, 18. Maud Muir, 19. Rosie Galligan, 20. Poppy Cleall, 21. Lucy Packer, 22. Holly Aitchison, 23. Ellie Kildunne

Canada XV: Alarie; Grant, Corrigan, Kaljuvee, Farries; Tessier, Pelletier; DeMerchant, Tuttosi, Menin, Holtkamp, Hunt, Forteza, Paquin, De Goede

Reserves: Boag, Kassil, Ellis, Fuamba, Beukeboom, Senft, Svoboda, Holly.