The England captain will reach her Test century during the opening weekend of the Women's Six Nations

Marlie Packer will earn her 100th England cap when the Red Roses begin their Women’s Six Nations campaign against Italy on Sunday.

The England captain and flanker made her debut in 2008 and is set to become the seventh women to reach a century of appearances when she leads her country out at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma.

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Packer, who also plays for club side Saracens, has scored 43 tries to date during her international career, which places her seventh on the all-time list.

Ahead of her landmark appearance, head coach John Mitchell paid tribute to the 34-year-old.

“Talking to Marlie about her journey, she has had to overcome adversity since her Test debut in 2008,” he said.

“What has been evident since I first met her is her determination to succeed has been ingrained in her over the past 16 years, helping her achieve she has in the game.

“She epitomises what it is to be a Red Rose.”

England are defending the Grand Slam they won last year and are going for a sixth straight Six Nations crown.

They have been boosted by the returns of fly-half Zoe Harrison, centre Emily Scarratt and lock Abbie Ward, who haven’t featured for the Red Roses since the 2022 World Cup final defeat to New Zealand.

Related: How to watch the Women’s Six Nations wherever you are

Sadia Kabeya and Lucy Packer are also back in the starting XV after missing England’s triumph in the inaugural WXV1 tournament.

Elsewhere, Exeter Chiefs’ Maddie Feaunati has been named on the bench and could make her England debut.

England team to play Italy in Women’s Six Nations

Starting XV: Ellie Kildunne; Abbie Dow, Helena Rowland, Jess Breach; Zoe Harrison, Lucy Packer; Hannah Botterman, Lara Atkin-Davies, Kelsey Clifford, Zoe Aldcroft, Abbie Ward, Sadia Kabeya, Marlie Packer, Sarah Beckett

Replacements: Connie Powell, Mackenzie Carson, Maud Muir, Maddie Feaunati, Alex Matthews, Natasha Hunt, Holly Aitchison, Megan Jones

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