Simon Middleton has offered a few more surprises in his choice of players to face Wales at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
But first, the bad news: Jess Breach has suffered an ankle injury so severe that she is counted out of the two remaining rounds.
Let’s hope a new English gate record will be broken; Quins claim a 5-figure attendance already.
The Red Roses 23:
15. Emily Scott (Harlequins, 37 caps)
14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors 45 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (captain, Loughborough Lightning, 88 caps)
12. Amber Reed (Bristol Bears, 56 caps)
11. Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 31 caps)
10. Katy Daly-McLean (Loughborough Lightning, 113 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins, 36 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 52 caps)
2. Amy Cokayne (Harlequins/RAF, 49 caps)
3. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins, 16 caps)
4. Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 39 caps)
5. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 19 caps)
6. Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps, 54 caps)
7. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 75 caps)
8. Sarah Beckett (Harlequins, 16 caps)
16. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 22 caps)
17. Hannah Botterman (Saracens, 19 caps)
18. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 34 caps)
19. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 122 caps)
20. Amelia Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
21. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 53 caps)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 23 caps)
23. Mia Venner (Gloucester-Hartpury debut)
Middleton has admitted that the main reason for calling up so many players to the training sessions is to recreate game situations as closely as possible. The welcome by-product is the presence of a wider cull of players, none more striking than the two 17-year-olds, Morwenna Talling and Mia Venner. Now Venner finds herself vaulted on to the bench. This does not mean that she is necessarily a better prospect than Talling; it is more a question of position. But it goes to show that the management is happy to promote young talent despite the depth of quality it already possesses.
Amy Cokayne is a marvel. It will take a little research to discover another player who has reached a half-century of caps at a younger age.
In the choice of No 8 selectors faced a embarrassment of riches. They decided to give their hard-working captain a rest; that left two players in the running, Sarah Beckett and Harriet Millar-Mills. Some observers might have reversed these selections. Both will do a fine job.
Emily Scarratt takes charge while Hunter sits on the bench.
Another player to be given a rest is the admirable Abby Dow; she has little more to prove. But when she can be replaced by a certain Lydia Thompson, scorer of some of the most significant tries in England’s history, we see the size of task set the Welsh side. In the continued absence of Kelly Smith, Sarah McKenna has to be employed on the other wing. She has played there more than once before.
Inevitably some deserving players find themselves left as mere spectators: Lark Davies and Claudia Macdonald to name but two.