England Women have made three changes for their Six Nations clash against Ireland at Ashbourne RFC on Friday, kick off 7.30pm.
England, who defeated Italy with a six-try 39-7 victory last time out, have called up Saracens’ Lauren Cattell to fullback. Cattell, who was on the bench against Wales, replaces Kay Wilson and she is now set to earn her tenth cap. Amber Reed, who has been side-lined through injury, also returns to the bench while Heather Kerr could be set to make her England debut if she comes on as a replacement.
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Interim England Women’s Head Coach Nicola Ponsford said: “We started this campaign with a significant number of new players in this squad with the focus on giving them the opportunity to develop at this level. We want to be as consistent as we can with selection throughout the Six Nations so we have only made one change to the starting line-up.”
“Katy will take over the captaincy reigns. She has demonstrated over the years, especially during the World Cup, her qualities as a leader and I think that will be vital against Ireland. Tamara has done a fantastic job leading the side against Wales and Italy so we are fortunate to have two experienced leaders in this team.”
England last played Ireland in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in August and triumphed 40-7 but their last visit to Ashbourne RFC was not as successful with a 25-0 defeat in 2013.
Ponsford added: “Without doubt playing Ireland will be the toughest game of the Six Nations so far for us. Ireland are a well drilled and physical side. We have learned our lessons from our loss in Ireland two years ago so we will be ready to take on this challenge.”
15 Lauren Cattell (Saracens)
14 Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
13 Abigail Brown (Bristol)
12 Ceri Large (Worcester)
11 Sydney Gregson (Bristol)
10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) C
9 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester)
1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Saracens)
3 Laura Keates (Worcester)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) VC
5 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
6 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
7 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
8 Harriet Millar-Mills (Waterloo)
16 Amy Cokayne (Lichfield)
17 Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
18 Justine Lucas (Lichfield)
19 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
20 Hannah Field (Richmond)
21 Fiona Davidson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
22 Megan Goddard (Worcester)
23 Amber Reed (Bristol)
Six Nations playing schedule:
Sunday, February 8, Wales 13 England 0, Swansea RFC
Sunday, February 15, England 39 Italy 7, the Twickenham Stoop,
Friday, February 27, Ireland v England, KO 7.30pm, Asbourne RFC, live stream by IRFU
Friday, March 13, England v Scotland, KO 7.35pm, the Northern Echo Arena, Darlington, live on Sky Sports.
Saturday, March 21, England v France, KO 7.20pm, Twickenham Stadium, live on the BBC Red Button.