The debate over smaller balls has been taking place for years

England head coach John Mitchell says using smaller balls in women’s rugby could be a good for the development of younger players.

Women’s rugby currently uses a size 5 ball, the same as the men. But trials have taken place to see if a size 4.5 ball should be used in the women’s game.

Read more: Red Roses top scorer

World Rugby are analysing data from their trial at the recent U18 Women’s Six Nations festival. Trials also took place during Celtic Challenge training sessions.

“We use the big ball and we’re quite happy with that. When the smaller ball arrives, we’ll deal with that,” Mitchell said. “But if I put my development hat on, these young girls have been exposed to a big ball their whole life.

“If you’ve got younger girls wanting to come into the game and you have smaller communities that don’t have the ability to play 15s but could do a lot more in school yards with smaller balls, if that gives them confidence to play the game then I’m all for it.”

Zoe Aldcroft, who will captain England against Scotland this weekend, was also asked her thoughts on the topic. She said: “We haven’t had many issues so far with a size 5, but we’ll go ahead and see what the 4.5 ball will do.”

The Red Roses travel to a sold-out Hive Stadium this weekend where they will be looking to continue their title defence. They have so far beaten Italy and Wales. Scotland pose a different threat and have been performing well in the tournament. They defeated Wales and ran France close in round two.

It will be a tough feet for Scotland to beat England. The Red Roses have not lost to their rivals since 1999.

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on FacebookInstagram and Twitter/X.