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Street rings changes for Women’s Six Nations clash against Ireland

05 February 2013

  • Matthews, Hemming and Burnfield return for England
  • England look to build on Scotland win
England will play Ireland this Saturday

Photo: Getty Images

England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street has made seven changes for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Ireland at Ashbourne RFC, which kicks off at 2pm.

Following last weekend’s 76-0 victory over Scotland in the tournament opener, there is a whole new front row for England with Rochelle Clark and Victoria Fleetwood coming off the bench and Bristol prop Sophie Hemming back in the match day squad. Richmond on form lock Rowena Burnfield is also back in the second row.

In the backs, Kay Wilson moves from the wing to fullback in the only positional change while Sally Tuson and La Toya Mason make the starting line-up. Richmond’s Francesca Matthew also returns to action after narrowly missing out on Sevens selection for last weekend’s World Series in Houston because of injury.

Street, whose side are defending Six Nations champions, said: “As always I want to rotate the squad and give players’ game time. We have brought in some real experience in the front row for Saturday’s game in Rochelle Clark and Sophie Hemming – who share 120 caps between them – whilst Sally Tuson has forced her way into the starting line-up with her powerful and try scoring efforts against Scotland. I am also pleased to welcome back Fran Matthews who had a superb autumn international series and is looking to get some game time under her belt.”

Despite England being without several star names for Saturday’s win over Scotland with a number of players in Sevens action in the World Series, the 2012 Grand Slam winners still managed to run in a massive 12 tries with skipper Sarah Hunter, debutant Abigail Chamberlain, Ceri Large and Tuson scoring two each.

Street, however, knows Saturday’s match against Ireland will be a different proposition altogether. Ireland beat Wales in their opening match of the series, and last season England edged a hard-fought 23-6 victory over their rivals.

Street said: “Ireland always raise their game against us so we know this is going to be one of our toughest games of the tournament. It's certainly up there as one of the big games of the championship. That said we will be treating it as just another game, our win over Scotland has given the whole squad a real confidence boost and hopefully if we meet our own expectations then the result will take care of itself.”

England

15 Kay Wilson (Bristol)
14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
13 Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
12 Amber Reed (Bristol)
11 Sally Tuson (Bristol)
10 Ceri Large (Worcester)
9 La Toya Mason (Wasps) (VC)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
5 Tamara Taylor (Lichfield)
6 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps)
7 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield)

Replacements:
16 Emma Croker (Richmond)
17 Laura Keates (Worcester)
18 Roz Crowley (Lichfield)
19 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
20 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
21 Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield)
22 Lauren Cattell (Saracens)
23 Fiona Pocock (Richmond)

England’s Six Nations Fixtures:

February 2, 2013 - England 76 Scotland 0
February 9, 2013 - Ireland v England - KO 2pm, Ashbourne RFC
*February 23, 2013 - England v France - KO 7.20pm, Twickenham Stadium (Live on BBC)
**March 9, 2013 - England v Italy - KO 1pm, Esher RFC – live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive
March 17, 2013 - Wales v England - KO 2.30pm, Aberavon RFC

*Free entry to Twickenham Stadium following the men’s Six Nations match
**Tickets available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk