Women's Rugby World Cup 2014: England trio set for debuts

Lydia Thompson
Lydia Thompson scored a hat-trick of tries on her England debut against Spain in the 2012 European Cup.
IRB Women's Rugby World Cup
Venue: France Dates: 1-17 August
Coverage: Reports and updates on BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app and BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on later stages; live coverage on Sky

Prop Laura Keates, scrum-half Natasha Hunt and wing Lydia Thompson will make their World Cup debuts when England's 2014 campaign gets under way on Friday.

They have been named in the starting line-up for the Women's Rugby World Cup opener against Samoa, when captain Katy Mclean will also win her 70th cap.

England's campaign kicks off at 17:00 BST in Marcoussis, France.

England's potential route to the final
Friday, 1 August v Samoa, KO 17:00 BST, Marcoussis
Tuesday, 5 August v Spain, KO 14:45pm BST, Marcoussis
Saturday, 9 Augustv Canada, KO 14:45pm BST, Marcoussis
Wednesday, 13 AugustSemi-final (TBC)
Sunday, 17 AugustFinal, KO 17:45 BST, Jean Bouin Stadium

Head coach Gary Street said: "Samoa will be difficult opposition. We are expecting a tough battle."

He added: "We have named a strong squad with 15 players having World Cup experience under their belts already. That is going to give us a good mental edge for the start of the campaign.

"We have been in camp for a long time and we have done all we can. Now we are looking forward to getting on the pitch and hearing that first whistle blow."

Street's side finished second at the 2010 World Cup.

England Women's team to face Samoa: 15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock), 11 Lydia Thompson (Worcester), 10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Emma Croker (Richmond), 3 Laura Keates (Worcester), 4 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 6 Heather Fisher (Worcester), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield).

Replacements: 16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 17 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 18 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 19 Marlie Packer (Wasps), 20 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 21 Ceri Large (Worcester), 22 Kay Wilson (Bristol)

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