Five Women’s Rugby World Cup winners headline England Women’s starting line-up for their 2019 Women’s Six Nations opener against Ireland on Friday (kick-off 5pm) in Donnybrook, Dublin.
Simon Middleton has confirmed his matchday 23 for the Red Roses and with 108 international caps to her name, Sarah Hunter again captains the side, starting at No.8.
She is joined by fellow 2014 Rugby World Cup winners Katy Daley-Mclean (102 caps), Emily Scarratt (74 caps), who has recovered from a hamstring injury, Marlie Packer (61 caps) and Natasha Hunt (41 caps).
A Women’s Rugby World Cup finalist in 2017, Sarah Bern starts at tighthead prop to make her first international appearance since the 2018 Six Nations.
Poppy Cleall starts in the second row and her twin sister and Saracens team mate Bryony will be looking for her first international cap, having been named as a replacement.
Also looking for her first international appearance from the bench is Saracens second row Rosie Galligan while Firwood Waterloo teenager Sarah Beckett, who made her England debut against USA last November, starts at flanker.
“We are looking forward to getting our Six Nations campaign under way and implementing some of the things we have been working on since the Quilter Internationals,” said Middleton.
“It is great to have a number of players back in the squad from the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, as well those newer names who have impressed through the season so far.
“This first game has come a week too soon for a couple of players but this gives us an opportunity to test others, and there were some tough calls over positions. Selection has been based on recent form.
“We know that conditions are likely to be testing in Dublin on Friday but we are looking forward to returning to Donnybrook, a ground we know well, having lifted the Six Nations Grand Slam there in 2017.
“Whatever the conditions, we will be focussed on the task in hand.”
⭐ SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT ⭐
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) January 30, 2019
England Women team to play Ireland Women
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women)
14. Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies)
13. Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning)
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury)
11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies)
1. Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women)
2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women)
4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning)
5. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women)
6. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women)
8. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning)
16. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies)
17. Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies)
19. Rosie Galligan (Saracens Women)
20. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond Ladies)
21. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women)
23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies)