England will take on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final without two of their three ex-Welwyn contingent - after an injury nightmare came true.

Hannah Botterman was due to start the semi-final win over Canada on Saturday but was forced to withdraw just hours before kick-off with knee trouble.

Helena Rowland started the 26-19 success and played a crucial role in the Red Roses' second try.

However, she was forced off early in the second half and ended the game at Eden Park in Auckland on crutches and in a protective boot.

Those knocks have proved significant enough to rule them out of Saturday's showdown, which kicks off at 6.30am in the UK and will be shown live on ITV.

The remaining player who was with the Hobbs Way-based rugby club as a junior, Zoe Harrison, does retain her spot in the 10 jersey.

Head coach Simon Middleton says the final represents the culmination of a long journey and they ready for one last challenge.

He 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.

"You are always striving to create something special in team sport and we have done that with this group of Red Roses.

"We know in our heart of hearts that this will more than likely be the last time this group all come together, but what they have created and achieved will live on for a long time.

"With success comes scrutiny and the inevitable pressure that brings with it. This squad has stood up to all of that and more and that is testimony to their ability, resilience and unwavering belief in each other.

"When things get tough, this team knows how to get going, that is why we are relishing Saturday and all that it will bring.

"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 whom 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."

England team to play New Zealand

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)