FIVE Worcester players have been selected in the England women’s rugby team to take on world champions New Zealand in the series opener at Esher Rugby Club on Friday (7.30pm).

Backs Danielle Waterman and Katherine Merchant plus forwards Rochelle Clark, Laura Keates and Heather Fisher are included in the first of three matches against the Black Ferns.

Worcester’s contingent is further strengthened by centre Joanne Watmore who is one of eight replacements.

England: Waterman (Worcester); Merchant (Worcester), Scarratt (Lichfield), Richardson (Richmond), Staniford (Wasps); McLean (Darlington), Hunt (Lichfield); Clark (Worcester), Fleetwood (Lichfield), Keates (Worcester), Taylor (Lichfield), Burnfield (Richmond), Fisher (Worcester), Packer (Bristol), Hunter (Lichfield). Replacements: Croker (Richmond), Crowley (Lichfield), Hemming (Bristol), Braund (Lichfield), Matthews (Richmond), Gulliver (Lichfield), Matthew (Richmond), Watmore (Worcester).