- Nine players set to make their U20s debut
- England to play France home and away
The England Women’s U20s team to take on France on Saturday at Esher RFC, kick off 2pm, has been announced.
Nine players are set to make their U20s debuts on Saturday, including five in the starting line-up. There are call-ups for Saracens’ Rochelle Smith in the centre and Mary-Ann Gittings and Holly Molesworth on the wings. Richmond’s Francesca Hall and Worcester’s Lucie Wood are also given the nod in the pack. Worcester’s Megan Goddard will captain the side.
After a 3-0 series defeat to France last year, there’s no doubt that England Women’s young guns will face a tough battle this season when England take on France at Moseley Road on Saturday and also in Dijon on March 15 for an away fixture.
England Head Coach, Amanda Bennett, said: “Losing three times against France last season was deeply disappointing, and even though we reduced a 50-point deficit in February to a six-point deficit less than a month later, we know that the England U20s have got to work that much harder as playing on the international stage is getting tougher every year.
“Whilst we’ve been working hard, we know France will have been doing the same. They will have pace, power and will be well-organised with a direct style of play. We know that some of last year’s France U20s have moved into senior rugby and it will be interesting to review their team sheet as there is an inevitable attrition rate at U20s due to the age restrictions.
“We have new young talent too. We have selected some new, exciting players this year and some of our youngest players have really stepped up and understand what performance rugby is all about. We have also retained some more experienced players whose leadership is going to be much needed in the heat of battle. We are certainly looking forward to playing France again and start this year’s campaign on home soil, so a big performance from each player is what we all want.”
England U20s (name, club, division)
15 Georgia Peedle (Saracens, Herts, London & South East)
14* Mary-Ann Gittings (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)
13* Rochelle Smith (Saracens, Surrey, London & South East)
12 Rachel Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumberland, North)
11* Holly Molesworth (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)
10 Megan Goddard (C) (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
9 Leanne Riley (Saracens, Middlesex, London & South East)
1 Amy Needham (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumberland, North)
2 Charlotte Notman (Bristol, Cornwall, South West)
3 Eleanor Prescott (Waterloo, Lancashire, North)
4 Courtney Gil (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
5* Francesca Hall (Richmond, Hampshire, London & South East)
6* Lucie Wood (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
7 Kayleigh Callaway-Bawden (VC) (Bristol/Penryn, Cornwall, South West)
8 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumberland, North)
16* Lucy Aylesbury (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
17 Mica Evans (Saracens, Middlesex, London & South East)
18* Scarlett Cooper-Wall (Old Albanian Saints, Herts, South West)
19 Ellen Gattlin (Saracens, Eastern Counties, London & South East)
2 Cary Williams (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands)
21 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
22* Florence Williams (Aylesford, Kent, London & South East)
23* Rosie Kells (Hartpury, Gloucestershire, South West)
*Indicates uncapped at England U20s level