England Women will take on fierce rivals France and world champions New Zealand over four international tests this autumn, with Twickenham Stadium hosting the series’ finale on December 1st.
But England triumphed in the final game, in the Six Nations, taking a crucial 15-3 victory at the Stade Charlety in Paris which helped the side seal a record-breaking championship win.
Four-times world cup winners New Zealand, meanwhile, return to English soil in November to take on England over three matches.
England and the Black Ferns will go head-to-head on November 23rd at Esher RFC followed by a mid-week test on November 27th at Aldershot’s Army Rugby Stadium.
The final game of the series will follow the men’s QBE International between England and New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium on December 1st. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD and there will be free entry to the match following the final whistle of the men’s game.
England last played New Zealand 11 months ago and bounced back from their 2010 world cup heartache to defeat the Black Ferns twice. The two sides then drew the final clash. It was a historic series for England as they became the first side ever to nil the world champions and inflict two consecutive defeats on them.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “We are really looking forward to this autumn with four tough matches in a relatively short period of time. France are getting stronger all the time, with the incentive of the Rugby World Cup at home in 2014, and this will also be a great opportunity to give some of our younger players a chance to make a statement before the New Zealand tests.
“New Zealand, meanwhile, will certainly be smarting after last year’s results and it’s really important that we improve on our performances from last autumn as well. We are all relishing the challenge, and players and staff alike are already excited about the next few months and setting the foundations for the next couple of years through to the World Cup.”
But not only do England have a busy XVs programme this autumn, the England Sevens team will also compete in international tournaments in Spain, France and Dubai ahead of 2013 as momentum builds towards the Rugby World Cup Sevens next year. Street certainly acknowledges that England will be stretched to balance all of England’s international commitments this autumn.
He added: “Juggling the XVs and the Sevens international programmes over the next few months, especially with the IRB Series in Dubai clashing with our final game against New Zealand at Twickenham, will certainly be a challenge. However, we are really confident that the work we have done over the last couple of years has really strengthened our player pool as our strength in depth will be vital to manage four international tests and three Sevens tournaments over two months.”
Tickets for England’s Autumn International Series will be available through www.ticketmaster.co.uk on Tuesday, September 18th, at 10am, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s. This excludes the England v New Zealand game at Twickenham on December 1st as there is free entry to the stadium.
England Women Autumn International Series:
Nov 3, 2012 – England v France – Esher RFC – KO 6pm
Nov 23, 2012 – England v New Zealand – Esher RFC – KO 730pm
Nov 27, 2012 – England v New Zealand – Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium – KO 730pm
Dec 1, 2012 – England v New Zealand – Twickenham Stadium – KO 5pm (Live on Sky Sports 1HD)