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Five first starters for England Women in France

31 October 2011

  • Five uncapped players in starting line-up for uncapped match in France
  • Former scrum half Amy Turner to get her first start at hooker
England Women's Harriet Mills, who make her first senior start in the non-cap international against France

Photo: RFU Archive

England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street has named a young England side for the first of two fixtures against France this week, with five uncapped players starting on Wednesday at the Jean Bouin Stadium in Marseille, kick off 6pm GMT.

In this uncapped game, Harriet Millar-Mills, Alexandra Matthews, Hannah Gallagher, Lydia Thompson and Ceri Large will be given their first taste of England senior international rugby. Also in the 22 are uncapped are Isobel Noel-Smith and Rose Jay, who will hope for involvement off the bench.

Lichfield’s Millar-Mills moves into the second row from No.8 – where she has captained the England Under 20 – while Matthews and Gallagher team up to form an exciting new back row partnership with captain Sarah Hunter who will captain the side. In the backs Large will get her first start at fly half and fellow Worcester teammate Lydia Thompson features on the wing.

Street said: "This game provides us with the opportunity to try out several of our new Elite Squad members who have yet to be capped by England, mixed in with some more experienced heads.

"We have some exciting young flankers in Hannah Gallagher and Alex Matthews and our young backline, I think, will create some exciting rugby. All our young players have great ball handling skills so it will be interesting to see how they react stepping up to this new level in France."

England Women's experienced scrum half Amy Turner, who make her first start at hooker in the non-cap international against France

Photo: RFU Archive

Richmond’s Amy Turner also returns to international action for the first time since the Rugby World Cup final in September 2010, but now playing at hooker rather than scrum half where she has won 51 international caps.

"It’s going to be really exciting to see Amy starting at hooker," added Street. "She has worked really hard in changing positions. She is going to offer us something completely different to what we have had in this position before so I think it will certainly be interesting to see how she develops."

England Women to face France

15 Kay Wilson (Bristol)
14  Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
12  Kimberley Oliver (Bristol)
11  Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
10  Ceri Large (Worcester)
9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Amy Turner (Richmond)
3 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield)
4 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
7 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield)


16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
17 Laura Keates (Worcester)
18 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
19 Isobel Noel-Smith (Bristol)
20 Rose Jay (Lichfield)
21 Sarah McKenna (Wasps)
22 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)

England Women Autumn International Series

Nov 2: France v England, Jean Bouin Stadium, Marseille, KO 6pm GMT
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 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.