Katy McLean

The England Women’s team to take on Wales in the RBS 6 Nations this Saturday at Twickenham Stadium, kick off 6:15pm, has been announced and once again Head Coach Gary Street has rung the changes.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks fly-half Katy McLean returns as captain, and she is one of 11 changes to the starting line-up, three of which are positional.

Lichfield’s Natasha Hunt will swap her number nine jersey to start her first ever international game at full-back. Hunt, who started her rugby career as a 15, replaces Emily Scarratt who moves back to centre. Kay Wilson returns to the starting line-up on the wing after missing England’s win against Italy through illness while Michaela Staniford is back in the starting line-up.

In the forwards, there is a new look front row for this match with Victoria Fleetwood back starting at hooker and Bristol’s Sophie Hemming at tight-head prop. Worcester’s Laura Keates moves to loose-head prop. Lichfield’s Harriet Millar-Mills and Saracens’ Hannah Gallagher are also back in the starting line-up.

England Head Coach Street, whose side head into the match on the back of wins over Scotland and Italy and whose side have conceded just three points, said: “I was really impressed with the way Wales played against Scotland. They played a really expansive game, moved the ball around well and scored some cracking tries. They also have some physical ball-carrying forwards and some good pace out wide so with the wide open pitch of Twickenham suiting both team this match should be a cracker.”

Saturday will also see flanker Gallagher and No. 8 Millar Mills make their Twickenham debuts whilst fly-half Ceri Large will also make her bow if she is called off the bench. All three players made their England debuts against France in November.

Street added: “Playing at Twickenham is a huge opportunity for these players. Playing at the home of England Rugby is an experience you’ll never forget. Coupled with the fantastic support we always receive here it will create an amazing atmosphere that I am sure Hannah, Harriet and Ceri will embrace and rise to the challenge.”

Street has also named a bench bursting with experience. Margaret Alphonsi is set to make her first start of this season’s Six Nations campaign, while the likes of Sarah Hunter and Rochelle Clark will be desperate to make their mark. In total, the bench shares 279 caps between them.

“We have got some serious experience on the bench and who will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get on, especially Maggie Alphonsi who has been out injured  for the first couple of rounds. She’ll be desperate to get on, make her mark and stake her claim for a place in the starting line-up against France in two weeks time.”

Starting XV:
15 Natasha Hunt
14 Kay Wilson
13 Emily  Scarratt
12 Rachael Burford
11 Michaela Staniford
10 Katy McLean (C)
9 La Toya Mason
1 Laura  Keates
2 Victoria Fleetwood
3 Sophie Hemming
4 Rowena Burnfield
5 Tamara Taylor
6 Hannah Gallagher
7 Marlie Packer
8 Harriet Millar-Mils

16 Amy Turner
17 Rochelle Clark
18 Margaret Alphonsi
19 Sarah Hunter
20 Georgina Rozario
21 Ceri Large
22 Kimberley Oliver