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England Women’s team announced for Six Nations clash against Wales

21 February 2012

  • McLean back to captain England against Wales
  • Free entry to Twickenham following the men’s match
Natasha Hunt tries to break a tackle against New Zealand

Photo: Rugbymatters.net 

Head Coach Gary Street has rung the changes once again ahead of England Women's RBS 6 Nations clash against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

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

Lichfield’s Natasha Hunt swaps 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 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 also return to 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. With the wide open pitch of Twickenham suiting both teams 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," said Street. "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.”

England

15        Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
14        Kay Wilson (Bristol)
13        Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
12        Rachael Burford (Richmond)
11        Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
10        Katy McLean (c) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
9          La Toya Mason (Wasps)

1          Laura Keates (Worcester)
2          Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3          Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4          Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
5          Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
6          Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
7          Marlie Packer (Bristol)
8          Harriet Millar-Mils (Lichfield)

Replacements:

16        Amy Turner (Richmond)
17        Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
18        Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)
19        Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
20        Georgina Rozario (Lichfield)
21        Ceri Large (Worcester)
22        Kimberley Oliver (Bristol)

England’s Six Nations Fixtures: 

February 5th 2012, Scotland v England, Lasswade, Edinburgh, England won 47-0
February 12th 2012, Italy v England, Recco, Nr Genoa, England won 43-3
February 25th, 2012, England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, KO 6.15pm
Live on the BBC Red Button and on www.bbc.co.uk/sport. Free entry to the stadium after the men’s Six Nations match.
March 11th, 2012, France v England, Stade Charlety, Paris, KO 12.45pm GMT
Live on Sky Sport HD2 Red Button.
March 17th 2012 England v Ireland, Esher RFC, KO 2pm.
Live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive.com. Tickets can be purchased on game day on the gate or online at http://www.esherrugby.com/ticket_sales.html, priced £10 for adults, £5 for Under 16s.