Sarah Hunter: Record-chasing England ‘want to be defined by winning trophies’

England Women captain Sarah Hunter says that the record-chasing Red Roses “want to be defined by winning trophies”.

Hunter’s side will become the first Test team – male or female – to win 25 successive international matches if they beat Wales in Bristol on Wednesday.

The game is England’s final warm-up fixture before the World Cup in New Zealand next month, when Hunter and company will arrive as clear tournament favourites.

The Red Roses, currently ranked number one in the world by a distance, have not lost since New Zealand defeated them in July 2019.

“While it is in the background, knowing the milestones and recognising them, it is about performance,” Hunter said.

“Hopefully, by living up to the performance that we want to achieve week on week, it helps to get these records.

“They (records) are not the be-all and end-all, but there is something pretty special about this team, and to be remembered you have to be part of history.

“For us, the ultimate will be if we can go down to New Zealand and we can get that World Cup trophy, and then I think it will make all the records even more special.

“At times, it is hard as a player when you are living in the moment to reflect on what you are achieving. Our ultimate focus is how good we can be, how we can keep improving our performance.

“We want to be defined by winning trophies, and there is a pretty big trophy to go to New Zealand and try to win in what I think will be the most competitive World Cup that there has ever been.”

Hunter returns to skipper a much-changed side against Wales, with switches including a new front-row of Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies and Sarah Bern.

Zoe Aldcroft
England forward Zoe Aldcroft will line up against Wales (David Davies/PA)

Zoe Aldcroft, meanwhile, moves from back-row to lock, and scrum-half Lucy Packer is handed only her second Red Roses start.

England head coach Simon Middleton added: “We are a team that wants to be remembered, and to do that you have to make history and do special things.

“The group of players and staff are fantastic. It is hugely competitive. It is a very difficult squad to get into, and that is why we have been as successful as we have been.

Simon Middleton
Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton (Mike Egerton/PA)

“To win 25 on the trot would be absolutely fantastic.

“We know there is a bigger picture we are working towards. Hopefully, results will follow, and if that makes more history, then fantastic.”

Team: E Kildunne; L Thompson, E Scarratt, H Rowland, S McKenna; Z Harrison, L Packer; V Cornborough, L Davies, S Bern, Z Aldcroft, A Ward, A Matthews, M Packer, S Hunter (capt).

Replacements: A Cokayne, H Botterman, M Muir, M Talling, P Cleall, C MacDonald, A Reed, H Aitchison.