The third round of the tournament kicks off in Gloucester
Women’s Six Nations England v Wales Preview
The Red Roses play their first home game of this year’s Women’s Six Nations in the third round on Saturday, against Wales at Kingsholm.
Both teams have a perfect record in the championship so far with two bonus-point victories from two, so whose winning run will end this weekend?
Wales have been performing well this year, coming back in both their first two matches to take the victories as the benefits of the WRU handing out professional and retainer contracts start to show.
Yet England are expected to come away with the win here. Simon Middleton’s side are on a 20-Test winning streak and have scored more than 20 tries in the tournament so far. Plus, they have never lost at home against Wales in ten Six Nations meetings, scoring more than 30 points in nine of those games.
The big news is that there is expected to be a record crowd for a standalone Red Roses Test in England. With more than 12,000 tickets already sold for Kingsholm, the attendance is set to better the 10,974 at the Stoop to watch this same fixture in 2020.
Related: How to buy Women’s Six Nations tickets
Here’s all the information you need with our Women’s Six Nations England v Wales Preview.
What’s the big team news?
Simon Middleton has made seven changes to his starting XV with an exciting return for winger Jess Breach, who she hasn’t played for the Red Roses since May 2021. Alongside her in the back three are Sarah McKenna on the other wing and Abby Dow at full-back.
Emily Scarratt is back in the side at outside-centre while scrum-half Lucy Packer makes her first start for England.
In the forwards, Sarah Bern comes into the front row and Poppy Cleall moves to lock as captain Sarah Hunter returns at No 8. Marlie Packer, who scored a hat-trick against Scotland, is also back in the starting line-up at flanker.
Wales have made five changes to their starting XV, including a brand-new half-back partnership. Robyn Wilkins starts at fly-half with Ffion Lewis at scrum-half as Elinor Snowsill and Keira Bevan are benched.
In the forwards, Donna Rose comes into the front row with Sioned Harries starting at No 8. Captain Siwan Lillicrap moves to flanker and teenager Sisilia Tuipulotu makes her first Wales start at lock.
What have the coaches said?
England head coach Simon Middleton: “Wales’ new contracts have galvanised and lifted their group and that’s shown in the nature of their performances and two wins out of two to date. They have looked well organised and have finished strong in both games.
“That’s testimony to the work Ioan (Cunningham) and his staff have put in and, of course, the attitude of the players. It’s great to see and makes for a top-class game and a stadium that will be bouncing.”
Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham: “We are excited by this big challenge against the No 1 team in the world. On average, they are scoring about eight tries a match so we are in no doubt about the extent of the task.
“However, we want to compete with the best teams in the world so this is a great opportunity for us to test ourselves and progress.”
What time is kick-off and is it on TV?
The match will kick-off at 4.45pm on Saturday 9 April at Kingsholm Stadium.
It will be available to watch on BBC Two, BBC Two Wales and BBC iPlayer in the UK as well as Virgin Media in Ireland. For more information on how to watch the match from elsewhere in the world see our Women’s Six Nations live stream guide.
Referee Julianne Zussman will be assisted by Hollie Davidson and Maria Latos. The TMO (television match official) is Matteo Liperini.
What are the line-ups?
England: Abby Dow; Jess Breach, Emily Scarratt, Helena Rowland, Sarah McKenna; Zoe Harrison, Lucy Packer; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Poppy Cleall, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter (captain).
Replacements: Connie Powell, Maud Muir, Shaunagh Brown, Rosie Galligan, Vicky Fleetwood, Natasha Hunt, Amber Reed, Ellie Kildunne.
Wales: Kayleigh Powell; Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Jasmine Joyce; Robyn Wilkins, Ffion Lewis; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Donna Rose, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Gwen Crabb, Siwan Lillicrap (captain), Alisha Butchers, Sioned Harries.
Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Cara Hope, Cerys Hale, Alex Callender, Bethan Lewis, Keira Bevan, Elinor Snowsill, Natalia John.
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