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Lightning stars named in England squad for Old Mutual Wealth Series

England Rugby Red Roses Coach, Simon Middleton has today announced a 28 player squad for the upcoming Old Mutual Wealth Series which features Loughborough Lightning player coach Sarah Hunter.

Alongside the announcement of the Old Mutual Wealth Series squad England have also named a wider 35 woman Elite Player Squad for the 2017/18 season which includes a further two Lightning players in Olivia Jones and Cath O’Donnell.

Simon Middleton, England Women Head Coach today said:

“We’re really excited; we know the challenge will be different this season. We have new additions to the squad, a good combination of experience but also some new and exciting talent. We have full confidence that they can come up to standard quickly and showcase their talents, with our more experienced players leading from the front and setting the example that the youngsters need to follow.

“Our focus this season will be about winning and that will stay top of our agenda. We have indoctrinated a winning culture in the squad last season and we want to keep this winning mentality throughout this one. We are looking forward to getting back out and taking on Canada, in what we know will be a challenging and demanding three Test series.”

Hunter recently captained the national side to the Women’s World Cup Final where they narrowly missed out on victory over New Zealand. Since then she has turned some of her attention to coaching, having taken up the role of Performance Coach at Loughborough University where she leads on the Women’s BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) programme. On the field Hunter has brought much needed experience to the Lightning setup, which is proving an asset in their inaugural campaign in the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s.

Speaking of her selection,

“It’s always an honour getting selected into an England squad and it is certainly no different this time. I am very much looking forward to the series ahead and the challenges Canada will bring. It’s a really exciting squad full of youth and experience and I can’t wait to see how we can perform together in the season ahead”

Loughborough University Student Olivia Jones is amongst those named in the Elite Player Squad for the 2017/18 season and will continue to compete and train alongside her studies. Impressing from the get go, Jones has tackled the current season head on with her club side, scoring a brace of tries in the opening match against Worcester.

Also gaining recognition for her outstanding performances on the pitch this season is fellow student Cath O’Donnell who receives her call up to the Elite Player Squad.

Loughborough Lightning Head Coach Rhys Edwards shared his pride in the girl’s selections;

“It’s great to have Olivia and Cath involved in the EPS Squad this year. They are young players who are going to learn a huge amount from the experience. Training amongst World Cup winners and being coached by Simon, Scott and Matt are only going to accelerate their development further. Their attitude is excellent, and I’m pleased that that they have had this opportunity. The hard work now starts…”

The Red Roses will take on Canada in opening game at Allianz Park on Friday 17th November.


Old Mutual Wealth Series 2017

17th November – Allianz Park (KO 19:30, live stream via
England Women v Canada
Tickets available via Saracens website

21st November – Twickenham Stoop (KO 19:45, live Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix)
England Women v Canada
Tickets available via

25th November – Twickenham Stadium (KO 17:40, live Sky Sports Arena & Sky Sports Mix)
England Women v Canada