Source: INPHO

Middleton names side to play Italy

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England Women head coach Simon Middleton has named his match-day 23 ahead of the Red Roses’ first Six Nations Test against Italy on Sunday 4th February (KO 17:30 GMT, live Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix).

Lauren Cattell (Saracens Women) who last featured for England against USA in 2016, is named at outside centre with Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies) playing inside centre.

Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies) and Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) will play nine and ten, while Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury) starts at full-back with Wasps FC Ladies duo Abigail Dow and Danielle Waterman on the wings.

Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies), Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries)- who makes her first international start for England- and Sarah Bern (Gloucester-Hartpury) make up the front row. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies) joins Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) who is set to earn her 112th cap for England, in the second row.

In the back row Red Roses captain Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning) starts at No.8 with Marlie Packer (Saracens Women) named at open side and Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women) included at blindside flanker.

Rugby World Cup finalists, Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies), Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies), Justine Lucas (Wasps FC Ladies), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol Ladies) are named as finishers alongside Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women), Caity Mattinson (Bristol Ladies) and Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC).

Newly appointed elite player squad member Charlotte Pearce (Loughborough Lightning) is also named on the bench and could earn her first international cap.

Simon Middleton said “The squad are ready for what will be a physical test against Italy. We know they can be unpredictable in how they play and have a well organised set piece.  We have prepared well, with all players training at a consistently high standard throughout camp.

“With the depth and quality of players we have in the squad, we could have opted for a number of combinations with selection, but we have always said we would be selecting on form and have stayed true to that. We have full confidence this side can deliver a win on Sunday.”

England and Bristol Ladies players Amber Reed and Lagi Tuima were both unavailable for selection. Tuima will miss the opening game through an injury (ankle) she came into camp with, while Reed has also sustained a longer-term injury (ankle). Both are expected to feature at a later stage in the tournament.

England beat Italy 56-13 the last time they met in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup pool stages.

England Women match-day 23 v Italy, Six Nations 2018
*denotes uncapped player

15. Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury, 3 caps)
14. Abigail Dow (Wasps FC Ladies, 2 caps)
13. Lauren Cattell (Saracens Women, 20 caps)
12. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies, 75 caps)
11. Danielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies, 77 caps)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 94 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 16 caps)

1. Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies, 132 caps)
2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 6 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Gloucester-Hartpury, 15 caps)
4. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 24 caps)
5. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 111 caps)
6. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 17 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 54 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter © (Loughborough Lightning, 101 caps)

16. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 36 caps)
17. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 34 caps)
18. Justine Lucas (Wasps FC Ladies, 28 caps)
19. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC, 42 caps)
20. Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol Ladies, 38 caps)
21. Caity Mattinson (Bristol Ladies, 3 caps)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 3 caps)
23. Charlotte Pearce (Loughborough Lightning, uncapped)*

England Women Six Nations 2018 fixtures:
Italy v England
Sunday 4 February, KO 17:30 GMT, Live Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix
Stadio Mirabello, Reggio Emilia

England v Wales
Saturday 10 February, KO 12:15pm, Live Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix
Twickenham Stoop

Scotland v England
Friday 23 February, KO 19:30, Live Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena via red button
Scotstoun, Glasgow

France v England
Saturday 10 March, KO 20:00 GMT, Live Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix
Stade des Alpes, Grenoble

England v Ireland
Friday 16 March, KO 17:30, Live Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix
Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Report courtesy of the RFU via Women’s Six Nations

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