SARRIES QUINTET PICKED FOR RED ROSES
Four Saracens Women have been named in England’s starting XV for the third Six Nations match on Sunday, against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.
Sarah McKenna starts at full-back, Zoe Harrison has been brought back into the side at inside centre for her first 2019 Six Nations start and Marlie Packer and Poppy Cleall are the first-choice flanker and number eight respectively.
Prop Hannah Botterman has been named among the replacements.
Head coach Simon Middleton has made nine changes, two of which are positional, for the clash, which will be aired live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix (kick-off 12.30pm).
The Red Roses will be looking to build on victories in their opening two games against Ireland (7-51) and France (41-26).
Middleton said: “While we were extremely pleased with our first-half performance against France we were disappointed with our defensive efforts in the second half. Defensively, we were nowhere near the level we want to be at or that we expect of ourselves.
“This disappointment has served as a great motivator for us going into this weekend’s fixture against Wales which we know will be a huge occasion.
“Wales will undoubtedly be buoyed by having gone from conceding over 50 points in their opening game against France to conceding only three against a strong Italian side. This, combined with our upcoming game being their first home fixture of this year’s Six Nations, will give Wales great confidence going into the weekend.”
On the changes Middleton added: “Having played a lot of minutes recently we have made the decision to move Sarah Hunter to the bench for this fixture.
“This provides Poppy Cleall with the opportunity to demonstrate her ability at number eight as we continue to strengthen our depth within this area and then naturally for Sarah Beckett to show us what she can do on the blindside.”
Hooker Jodie Rettie is another Sarries Woman in Six Nations action this weekend, having been named on the bench for Scotland's clash with France on Saturday night in Lille (kick-off 8pm).
England’s Matchday Squad vs Wales:
- Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 19 caps)
14. Abby Dow (Wasps Ladies, 5 caps)
13. Rachael Burford(Harlequins Ladies, 81 caps)
12. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 10 caps)
11. Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies, 4 caps)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 104 caps)
9. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 43 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 43 caps)
2. Amy Cokayne (Wasps Ladies, 43 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women, 22 caps)
4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 9 caps)
5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 33 caps)
6. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo Ladies, 3 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 62 caps)
8. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 26 caps)
16. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 15 caps)
17. Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women, 7 caps)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies, 7 caps)
19. Jo Brown (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
20. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 110 caps)
21. Claudia Macdonald (Wasps Ladies, 3 caps)
22. Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 25 caps)