Flank Sadia Kabeya starts Saturday’s England World Cup opener against Fiji while winger Abby Dow returns after breaking a leg.
Kabeya, who has just four caps, tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in New Zealand and only came out of isolation on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old will start ahead of 2014 World Cup winner Marlie Packer, who is out with a foot injury.
Dow broke his leg in the Women’s Six Nations in April but recovered quickly and was one of the substitutes for the game at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Sarah Hunter will lead No. 8’s team while outside center Emily Scarratt is her vice-captain.
Head coach Simon Middleton said: “We have selected an experienced Round 23 who we believe is in a good position to start our season strongly.
“We know we could have picked anyone from the broader squad and there are nine players with important supporting roles this week.
“It’s a privilege to face a team in their very first World Cup game. We know they have talented players and we look forward to the challenge.
“It’s great to hear that over 30,000 tickets were sold for the opening day as well.
“I’m very happy with the group’s performance in practice and we can’t wait to get going at a legendary venue in Eden Park on Saturday.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/england-squad-fiji-womens-rugby-world-cup-b2196712.html England vs. Fiji: Sadia Kabeya starts as Abby Dow on the bench at the World Cup opener