England Women will honour one of their all-time greats this weekend when World Cup-winning fly-half Katy Daley-Mclean wins her 100th cap for the Red Roses.
England are in action on Friday night at Allianz Park against USA in their first of a trio of Autumn Internationals.
Daley-Mclean, 32, has been a stalwart for England ever since her debut against Scotland during the Women’s Six Nations back in 2007.
In that time she has won seven Championships and six Grand Slams and captained England to the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup crown.
Marking Daley-Mclean’s milestone 100th cap, coach Simon Middleton said: “Katy is one of the greatest women’s players ever. It’s a remarkable achievement to get 100 caps for your country, especially considering she took time out in the Sevens programme to represent Team GB in the Olympics.
“She has everything; an accomplished skillset, ability and a thorough understanding of the game. Katy is a great asset to England, a natural leader and an inspirational player. She knows how to inspire a team and is a great on-field motivator.”
A #RedRoses legend ?
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 7, 2018
While Daley-Mclean brings her considerable experience to the starting XV, Middleton has also opted to blood four uncapped players.
Saracens prop Ellena Perry starts at loosehead with Firwood Waterloo teenager Sarah Beckett at No.8 and in the backs, centres Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury) and Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning) start at 12 and 13 respectively.
With regular Red Roses captain Sarah Hunter on the bench for this opening game, Harlequins lock Abbie Scott is named to lead the side. Additionally from the bench, Wasps scrum-half Claudia Macdonald and Bristol Bears centre Lucy Attwood will be looking for their first international appearance.
Middleton said: “We know where we are and there’s a lot of excitement among the squad to start a new international season. We have new talent among the group who have developed their rugby through the pathway and Tyrrells Premier 15s and bring a mix of rugby backgrounds to the set up. It’s important to give players opportunities and there is a lot to play for.
“The USA are match ready from their game against the Black Ferns and will be hardened and wiser for last weekend. Like them, we are ready and expect a tough game on Friday.”
Of the captaincy he said: “Abbie is a natural leader and a rugby smart player, she will do a great job.”
Daley-Mclean will become just the fifth Red Rose to reach the 100 Test cap mark after Amy Garnett, Rocky Clark, Tamara Taylor and Hunter.
England Women: 15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens), 14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries), 13. Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning), 12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury), 11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury), 10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning), 9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins), 1. Ellena Perry (Saracens), 2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries), 3. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins), 4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), 5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins, captain), 6. Joanna Brown (Loughborough Lightning), 7. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens), 8. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo)
Replacements: 16. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park), 17. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins), 18. Hannah Botterman (Saracens), 19. Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning), 20. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning), 21. Claudia Macdonald (Wasps), 22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens), 23. Lucy Attwood (Bristol Bears)