Women's Rugby World Cup 2014: Alex Matthews back for England

Alexandra Matthews in England action
England Women v Spain Women
Venue: Marcoussis, Paris
Date: Tuesday, 5 August
Kick-off: 14:45 BST
Coverage: Sky Sports 1 14:45; BBC Radio 5 live Rugby - Women's RWC special: 21:30-22:30; match reports on BBC Sport website

Richmond back row Alexandra Matthews will make her first start for England since July 2013 in Tuesday's World Cup match against Spain in Marcoussis.

The 21-year-old is one of 12 changes to the starting XV from Friday's opening 65-3 win over Samoa, as coach Gary Street rotates his squad of 26.

Only full-back Danielle Waterman, wing Lydia Thompson and lock Jo McGilchrist remain in the same positions.

New captain Sarah Hunter switches from number eight to blind-side flanker.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Rugby World Cup - meet the England women

In addition to the introduction of Matthews, the pack features an all-changed front row of Claire Purdy, Victoria Fleetwood and Sophie Hemming, with lock Rebecca Essex and flanker Marlie Packer also starting.

In the backs, scrum-half La Toya Mason teams up with Ceri Large at half-back, with captain and fly-half Katy Mclean rested. Amber Reed and Claire Allan form a new centre partnership, with Kay Wilson starting on the right wing.

"Because of the schedule [five games in 17 days] it's key that we rotate our players," said head coach Gary Street. "Having a game every four days is hugely physically and mentally demanding so our strategy is to rotate the squad and keep the players fresh.

"It is exciting to bring back Alex Matthews who has been out for a while with injury. She has been outstanding in our training camps over the last couple of months. Alex is a dynamic ball carrier and gives us another huge physical presence in the back row."

England Women team: Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Kay Wilson (Bristol), Claire Allan (Richmond), Amber Reed (Bristol), Lydia Thompson (Worcester), Ceri Large (Worcester), La Toya Mason (Wasps); Claire Purdy (Wasps), Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Rebecca Essex (Richmond), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield, captain), Marlie Packer (Wasps), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond).

Replacements: Emma Croker (Richmond), Laura Keates (Worcester), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), Rachael Burford (Thurrock), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield).

Top Stories