Two former Leicester Tigers players are preparing for a Rugby World Cup Final tomorrow as part of the coaching team with England’s Red Roses.
England face New Zealand in a repeat of the 2017 Final at Eden Park in Auckland with a world title at stake.
Former Tigers duo Louis Deacon and Scott Bemand are members of a coaching team which has taken the team to within 80 minutes of a potential third world crown.
Deacon, who made more than 270 appearances for Tigers, is the squad’s forwards coach, working with attack coach Bemand, the former Tigers scrum-half, and alongside head coach Simon Middleton as the team has built an unbeaten run stretching to more than three years.
Leicester-born Emily Scarratt, who won her 100th international cap in the Red Roses win over Ireland played at the Tigers’ Mattioli Woods Welford Road last season, starts as vice-captain in the England backline in her fourth World Cup tournament.
Two of Scarratt’s previous World Cup Final appearances have been against New Zealand, opponents again this weekend. If the Black Ferns are to lift the trophy for a sixth time in nine tournaments, they will have to end England’s unbeaten run which stretches to 30 games since July 2019.
Head coach Middleton said: “I could not be any prouder of the squad, how we have conducted ourselves and how we have performed. We set ourselves an objective to leave this country a better squad than when we arrived and, regardless of what happens on Saturday, we will do that.
“There can be no bigger challenge in sport than to play the world champions in their own backyard in front of a sell-out crowd – 99.9 per cent of which will be forming part of the opposition.
“Great teams don’t fear those challenges, they embrace them, and meet them head on, that’s what we intend to do.”
The Final is 6.30am kick-off UK time, with live coverage on ITV. There is also livestream coverage via the ITV website and ITV Hub.
15 Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 30 caps)
14 Lydia Thompson (University of Worcester Warriors, 57 caps)
13 Emily Scarratt (vc) (Loughborough Lightning, 107 caps)
12 Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 14 caps)
11 Abby Dow (Wasps, 29 caps)
10 Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 45 caps)
9 Leanne Infante (Saracens, 57 caps)
1 Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 74 caps)
2 Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 69 caps)
3 Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 51 caps)
4 Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 37 caps)
5 Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears, 60 caps)
6 Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 55 caps)
7 Marlie Packer (Saracens, 88 caps)
8 Sarah Hunter (c) Loughborough Lightning, 139 caps)
16 Lark Davies (Bristol Bears, 43 caps)
17 Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 16 caps)
18 Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins, 29 caps)
19 Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 23 caps)
20 Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 62 caps)
21 Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 7 caps)
22 Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs, 23 caps)
23 Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 8 caps)