Two Chiefs Named in England Women's Pathway Matchday 23

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Exeter Chiefs Women's players Sophie Langford and Abby Middlebrooke have been named in the England Women's Pathway matchday squad to take on Wales in Parma.

Matchday 2 at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi follows on from a 33-10 victory for England over Ireland last Thursday, captain Lilli Ives Campion registering two tries on the day. England’s match-up with Wales kicks-off at 20:00 BST and will be streamed live on the England Rugby YouTube channel. Each union can select up to three U23 players per matchday squad.

Steph Else is named captain for the encounter following on from previous leadership experience in a 45-5 win over Wales U20 Women in May. Else, who recently won the 2023/24 Premiership Women’s Rugby title with Gloucester-Hartpury alongside Millie Hyett, was also voted the league’s Young Player of the Season.

Experienced Sale Sharks hooker Niamh Swailes (6 U20 caps) joins Else in the pack for her first tournament appearance, with management also able to call upon the proficient scrum-half Tori Sellors (Saracens, 7 U20 caps) from the replacements bench, who also crossed the whitewash against Ireland.

For the first time this season, LJ Lewis and assistant coach Sarah McKenna have named a fully-capped matchday 23 after Anna Richardson (Exeter University) and Kira Leat (Trailfinders Women) earned their first U20 caps on Matchday 1.

Abby Middlebrooke of Exeter Chiefs and Loughborough Lightning’s Evelyn Clarke have been called up to the squad as injury replacements for Catherine Wells and Reneeqa Bonner, respectively.

May’s meeting between England and Wales, hosted at Bristol Bears Women’s Shaftesbury Park, saw the Emerging Roses run in seven tries including a hattrick from debutant wing, Katie Shillaker.

Following Tuesday’s encounter, the England Rugby Women’s Pathway side will complete their series against France (14th July, 20:00 BST kick-off) at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. The fixture will be available to watch live on the England Rugby YouTube channel.

The Women’s Summer Series is intended to offer players a vital new opportunity to graduate through the rugby development pathway, from the U18 level. For those players who may have missed the U18 entry point onto the rugby pathway, the Women’s Summer Series opens up another route to international rugby.

LJ Lewis said: “The last week has been a fantastic experience for myself and the team, it’s inspiring being surrounded by a collective responsibility of commitment to growing the women’s game through the pathway.

“Our victory over Ireland was the perfect start to this tournament. Ireland offered us a great challenge and opportunity for learning as we look forward to our Wales test, and Liza [Burgess] and her team present to us another opportunity that excites and motivates us in equal measure.

“We faced Wales in our Spring schedule but the nature of the tournament with quick turnarounds heightens the level of expectation for all involved, and that is something we’re willing to exceed.”

England Women’s Pathway:

15 Samantha Shiels (Trailfinders Women, Grasshoppers RFC, 2 caps)

14 Evelyn Clarke (Loughborough Lightning, Worcester Girls RFC, 2 caps)

13 Sophie Langford (Exeter Chiefs, Hong Kong Football Club, 2 caps)

12 Millie Hyett (Gloucester-Hartpury, Worcester Girls RFC, 4 caps)

11 Millie David (Bristol Bears, Reading Rugby Football Club, 4 caps)

10 Ella Cromack (Harlequins, Reading Rugby Football Club, 2 caps)

9 Alex Wilkinson (Henley Hawks, Henley Hawks, 3 caps)

1 Amelia Williams (Loughborough Lightning, Medway Rugby Football Club, 4 caps)

2 Niamh Swailes (Sale Sharks, Ryton RUFC, 6 caps)

3 Kira Leat (Trailfinders Women, Havant RFC, 1 cap)

4 Tyla Shirley (Harlequins, Hove Rugby Club, 3 caps)

5 Jorja Battishill (Gloucester-Hartpury, Gloucester-Hartpury, 4 caps)

6 Anna Richardson (Exeter University, Tynedale RFC, 1 cap)

7 Ellie Roberts (Loughborough Lightning, Basingstoke RFC, 4 caps)

8 Steph Else (c) (Gloucester-Hartpury, Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club, 6 caps)


16 Amelia Hyndman (Sale Sharks, Bishop Auckland Rugby Club, 1 cap)

17 Abby Middlebrooke (Exeter Chiefs, Exeter Saracens RFC, 3 caps)

18 Chloe Flanagan (Saracens, Old Albanian RFC, 4 caps)

19 Lucy Calladine (Loughborough Lightning, Burton Rugby Football Club, 4 caps)

20 Joia Bennett (Saracens, Old Albanian RFC, 4 caps)

21 Tori Sellors (Saracens, Sevenoaks Rugby Club, 7 caps)

22 Katie Shillaker (Harlequins, Horsham RFC, 1 cap)

23 Lia Green (Loughborough Lightning, Winscombe RFC, 4 caps) 

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