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Matthews set to make international debut in France

04 November 2011

  • Alexandra Matthews set to join sister Fran with England honours
  • Five uncapped players named in 22 to face France in Chateaurenard Test
Richmond flanker Alexandra Matthews, who will win her first England cap against France

Photo: Getty Images

Richmond flanker Alexandra Matthews is set to make her England debut this Saturday when England take on France at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Chateaurenard, kick off 2pm GMT.

Matthews, 18, is one of nine changes – with two positional – to the England starting line-up that was defeated 14-5 by France in Wednesday’s uncapped match in Marseille.

And as Matthews runs out tomorrow she will become the second member of the family to be capped for England. Older sister Francesca, who plays on the wing, is also a member of the England Elite Playing Squad and has amassed 18 caps for her country.

Uncapped quartet of Saracens’ Hannah Gallagher, Lichfield’s Harriet Millar-Mills, Bristol’s Isobel Noel-Smith and Worcester’s Ceri Large are also named on the bench.

Head Coach Gary Street has welcomed back regulars Emily Scarratt, Georgina Roberts and La Toya Mason to the starting line-up and says he has selected his strongest available side from the players in France.

England back Emily Scarratt, who returns in the side to face France

Photo: Getty Images

He said: "This is the strongest starting XV we can select from this squad and we will be expecting another tough and extremely physical test against a very motivated French team. We learnt some valuable lessons from Wednesday’s match and some of the players really excelled so they will have another opportunity to show what they can do on Saturday.

Alex had an outstanding game on Wednesday and I am really excited about her ball carrying skills and defensive qualities that she brings to our game. We also have four uncapped players on the bench and they have brought energy into this squad.

"With this being our last game ahead of the three autumn international tests against world champions New Zealand this is a huge opportunity for all our players to step up and show what they can do."

England Women to face France

15 Kay Wilson (Bristol)
14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
12 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
10 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol)
9 La Toya Mason (Wasps)
1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3 Laura Keates (Worcester)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
7 Marlie Packer (Bristol)
8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)

Replacements:

16 Amy Turner (Richmond)
17 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield)
18 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
19 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
20 Isobel Noel-Smith (Bristol)
21 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
22 Ceri Large (Worcester)

England Women Autumn International Series

Nov 2: France v England, Jean Bouin Stadium, Marseille – L 14-5
Nov 5: France v England, Pierre de Coubertin Stadium at Chateaurenard, KO 2pm GMT
Nov 26: England v New Zealand, Twickenham Stadium, KO 5pm
Nov 29: England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, KO 7pm
Dec 3: England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, 2pm

Tickets for the first match against New Zealand at Twickenham on November 26 are available via RFU.com and group booking are available from the RFU by calling 0871 22 22 017, option 6. Prices range from £65 to £35. Junior tickets cost just £15.

Tickets for the international tests at Esher RFC on November 29 and December 3 will be available on the gate and cost £10 for adults and £5 for juniors.