Captain Marlie Packer has been passed fit
Red Roses captain Marlie Packer has been passed fit to lead her side in the Grand Slam decider against France after being named to start at openside flanker in the England Women’s Six Nations squad for Round Five.
Joining her in the starting XV is centre Helena Rowland who makes her first start since the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup last year. She takes the place of Lagi Tuima, who drops out of the 23 entirely, at outside-centre.
Lucy Packer returns at scrum-half with Mo Hunt dropping to the bench where she is joined by Jess Breach who returns to the match day squad. Hooker Lark Davies and tighthead Sarah Bern return to the front-row alongside Hannah Botterman after coming off the bench against Ireland.
Poppy Cleall is fit enough to take her place among the replacements after suffering an injury in the Round One victory over Scotland in Newcastle, the day former skipper Sarah Hunter retired in her home-town.
Read more: Women’s Six Nations fixtures
England Women’s Six Nations squad to face France:
England: 15. Ellie Kildunne, 14. Abby Dow, 13. Helena Rowland, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Claudia MacDonald, 10. Holly Aitchison, 9. Lucy Packer; 1. Hannah Botterman, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Zoe Aldcroft (VC), 5. Sarah Beckett, 6. Sadia Kabeya, 7. Marlie Packer (C), 8. Alex Matthews
Replacements: 16. Connie Powell, 17. Mackenzie Carson, 18. Maud Muir, 19. Poppy Cleall, 20. Morwenna Talling, 21. Natasha Hunt, 22. Amber Reed, 23. Jess Breach
England Women’s Six Nations squad to face Ireland:
England: 15. Ellie Kildunne, 14. Abby Dow, 13. Lagi Tuima, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Claudia MacDonald, 10. Holly Aitchison, 9. Natasha Hunt; 1. Hannah Botterman, 2. Connie Powell, 3. Maud Muir, 4. Zoe Aldcroft (VC), 5. Sarah Beckett, 6. Sadia Kabeya, 7. Marlie Packer (C), 8. Alex Matthews
Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Mackenzie Carson, 18. Sarah Bern, 19. Delaney Burns, 20. Morwenna Talling, 21. Lucy Packer, 22. Amber Reed, 23. Helena Rowland
England Women’s Six Nations squad to face Wales:
England: 15 Emma Sing, 14 Jess Breach, 13 Lagi Tuima, 12 Tatyana Heard, 11 Abby Dow, 10 Holly Aitchison, 9 Lucy Packer; 1 Mackenzie Carson, 2 Lark Davies, 3 Sarah Bern, 4 Zoe Aldcroft (VC), 5 Cath O’Donnell, 6 Sadia Kabeya, 7 Marlie Packer (C), 8 Alex MatthewsReplacements:16 May Campbell; 17 Hannah Botterman, 18 Maud Muir, 19 Delaney Burns, 20 Sarah Beckett, 21 Ella Wyrwas 22 Sarah McKenna, 23 Ellie Kildunne
England Women’s Six Nations squad to face Italy:
England: 15. Abby Dow, 14. Jessica Breach, 13. Lagi Tuima, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Claudia MacDonald, 10. Holly Aitchison, 9. Lucy Packer, 1. Mackenzie Carson, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Catherine O’Donnell 5. Delaney Burns, 6. Sadia Kabeya, 7. Marlie Packer (CC), 8. Zoe Aldcroft (VC)
Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Liz Crake, 18. Kelsey Clifford, 19. Sarah Beckett, 20. Emily Robinson, 21. Ella Wyrwas, 22. Sarah McKenna, 23. Emma Sing
England Women’s Six Nations squad to face Scotland:
England: 15. Abby Dow, 14. Jessica Breach, 13. Lagi Tuima, 12. Amber Reed, 11. Claudia MacDonald, 10. Holly Aitchison, 9. Lucy Packer, 1. Mackenzie Carson, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Zoe Aldcroft, 5. Poppy Cleall, 6. Sadia Kabeya, 7. Marlie Packer (CC), 8. Sarah Hunter (CC)
Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Liz Crake, 18. Kelsey Clifford, 19. Catherine O’Donnell, 20. Sarah Beckett, 21. Ella Wyrwas, 22. Tatyana Heard, 23. Emma Sing
Gloucester-Hartpury scrum-half Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt was a big-name absentee from the Rugby World Cup 2021 squad but has been in tremendous form for her club and is rewarded with a recall.
Harrison’s absence is a huge blow after the No 10 tore her ACL in Saracens’ win over Harlequins last week and has undergone a successful knee operation but will spend at least six months on the sidelines.
Read more: Middleton to leave after Six Nations
Centre Scarratt is out of the championship with a combination of neck and ankle injuries but along with pregnant Abbie Ward will come into the camp to assist with coaching.
Hunt’s return is not an isolated decision as there are also recalls for Sarah Beckett, Amber Reed, Bryony Cleall and Poppy Leitch.
Middleton – who will leave his role along with attack coach Scott Bemand at the end of the campaign – has named nine uncapped players in a 42-strong playing squad.
One of the potential debutants includes Sale Sharks fly-half Lizzie Duffy, who could fill the vacancy at No 10, although Saracens’ Holly Aitchison, usually an inside centre, could be tasked with moving in one as she did in last year’s Allianz Premier 15s final when Harrison was also injured.
Saracens duo May Campbell and Kelsey Clifford are hoping to make their international bows along with the likes of Exeter Chiefs’ Nancy McGillivray and Gloucester-Hartpury’s Ellie Rugman.
Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer will co-captain the side that won last year’s Grand Slam as they bid for a fifth straight Six Nations title.
England Women’s Six Nations Squad
Holly Aitchison (21 Feb 1997/Saracens/Centre/15)
Jess Breach (4 Nov 1997/Harlequins/Wing/24)
Abby Dow (29 Sep 1997/Wasps/Wing/30)
Lizzie Duffy (12 Feb 2002/Sale Sharks/Fly-half/Uncapped)
Tatyana Heard (14 Jan 1995/Gloucester-Hartpury/Centre/9)
Natasha Hunt (21 Mar 1989/Gloucester-Hartpury/Scrum-half/60)
Leanne Infante (18 Jul 1993/Bristol Bears/Scrum-half/57)
Ellie Kildunne (8 Sep 1999/Harlequins/Full-back/31)
Claudia MacDonald (4 Jan 1996/Exeter Chiefs/Wing/Scrum-half/24)
Nancy McGillivray (15 Nov 2002/Exeter Chiefs/Centre/Uncapped)
Sarah McKenna (23 Mar 1989/Saracens/Full-back/43)
Lucy Packer (2 Feb 2000/Harlequins/Scrum-half/9)
Amber Reed (3 Apr 1991/Bristol Bears/Centre/62)
Helena Rowland (19 Sep 1999/Loughborough Lightning/Fly-half/22
Ellie Rugman (14 Jun 1993/Gloucester-Hartpury/Wing/Uncapped)
Emma Sing (11 Mar 2001/Gloucester-Hartpury/Full-back/2)
Lydia Thompson (10 Feb 1992/Worcester Warriors/Wing/58)
Lagi Tuima (16 Jun 1998/Harlequins/Centre/12)
Ella Wyrwas (7 Mar 1999/Saracens/Scrum-half/Uncapped)
Zoe Aldcroft (19 Nov 1996/Gloucester-Hartpury/Lock/38)
Sarah Beckett (14 Feb 1999/Harlequins/Back-row/25)
Sarah Bern (10 Jul 1997/Bristol Bears/Prop/52)
May Campbell (16 May 1996/Saracens/Hooker/Uncapped)
Bryony Cleall (12 Jun 1992/Wasps/Prop/7)
Poppy Cleall (12 Jun 1992/Saracens/Back-row/63)
Kelsey Clifford (11 Dec 2001/Saracens/Prop/Uncapped)
Amy Cokayne (11 July 1996/Harlequins/Hooker/70)
Liz Crake (8 November 1994/Wasps/Prop/Uncapped
Lark Davies (3 Mar 1995/Loughborough Lightning/Hooker/44)
Rosie Galligan (30 Apr 1998/Harlequins/Lock/9)
Detysha Harper (23 Oct 1998/Loughborough Lightning/Prop/5)
Sarah Hunter (19 Sep 1985/Loughborough Lightning/Back-row/140)
Sadia Kabeya (22 Feb 2002/Loughborough Lightning/Back-row/8)
Alex Matthews (3 Aug 1993/Worcester Warriors/Back-row/56)
Maud Muir (12 Jul 2001/Wasps FC/Prop/17)
Cath O’Donnell (13 Jun 1996/Loughborough Lightning/Second-row/24)
Marlie Packer (28 Apr 1989/Saracens/Back-row/89)
Connie Powell (13 Jul 2000/Gloucester-Hartpury/Hooker/7)
Emily Robinson (22 Jun 2000/Harlequins/Back-row/Uncapped)
Hannah Sims (3 Nov 1996/Harlequins/Prop/Uncapped)
Morwenna Talling 5 Aug 2002/Loughborough Lightning/Second-row/5)
Players unavailable for selection: Hannah Botterman (knee), Vickii Cornborough (personal reasons), Vicky Fleetwood (ankle), Laura Keates (anterior cruciate ligament), Zoe Harrison (anterior cruciate ligament), Emily Scarratt (neck and ankle), Abbie Ward (pregnancy).
England Women’s Six Nations Fixtures 2023
(All kick-off times are UK & Ireland time)
Sat 25 Mar, England 58-7 Scotland, Kingston Park, 4.45pm
Sun 2 Apr, England 68-5 Italy, Franklin’s Gardens, 3pm
Sat 15 Apr, Wales 3-59 England, Cardiff Arms Park, 2.15pm
Sat 22 Apr, Ireland 0-48 England, Musgrave Park, 2.15pm
Sat 29 Apr, England v France, Twickenham Stadium, 1pm
Don’t miss a game with this Women’s Six Nations TV coverage guide.
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