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A squad of 28 players will travel to New Zealand on 2 June for the Red Roses’ three-Test tour against Australia, Canada and the Black Ferns.

Sarah Hunter, who led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam win earlier this year, again captains the side, which includes two players returning from absences. Emily Braund (Lichfield) and Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) are both named, having been sidelined since the 2016 Six Nations.

England kick-off their International Women’s Series campaign against Australia in Wellington (9 June), before taking on Canada in Christchurch (13 June) and the Black Ferns in Rotorua four days later.

The final match in Rotorua will be a curtain-raiser for the British & Irish Lions game against the Maori All Blacks. All three games will be live streamed via Worldrugby.org.

15 of the 28 players were named in England’s 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup-winning squad, with no uncapped names in the side.“This tour provides an excellent opportunity for us to test ourselves in an unfamiliar environment.”

Head coach Simon Middleton says it is a great opportunity for his squad to test themselves against the best sides in the world ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August.

Middleton added: “With the World Cup just around the corner, this tour provides an excellent opportunity for us to test ourselves in an unfamiliar environment, against some of the leading teams in the world. The tight turnaround of games replicates the World Cup schedule, and we expect to encounter a great atmosphere in New Zealand, which will provide players with the best possible preparation for Ireland in August.

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