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Scott skippers England Women as Middleton makes seven changes

Scott skippers England Women as Middleton makes seven changes
  • England Women make seven changes to face Wales on Saturday
  • Abbie Scott skippers while Marlie Packer, Sarah Beckett and Amy Cokayne come into the forwards
  • Natasha Hunt, Zoe Harrison, Rachael Burford and Abby Dow are the back changes

Abbie Scott will captain England Women for the second time against Wales Women on Sunday – in a team that shows seven changes.

Scott skippered her country to a 57-5 victory over USA in November and will don the armband once more, with usual captain Sarah Hunter named on the bench.

England are looking to keep their Grand Slam hopes on track at Cardiff Arms Park after winning their opening two matches of this year’s Women’s Six Nations and head coach Simon Middleton has rotated his squad.

Centre Rachael Burford and winger Abby Dow will make their first appearances of this year’s Championship, while flanker Marlie Packer returns to the starting line-up after being rested in the 41-26 victory over last year’s Grand Slam winners France last time out.

She’ll be joined in the back row by another new face, as Sarah Beckett dons the No.6 jersey while scrum-half Natasha Hunt, centre Zoe Harrison and hooker Amy Cokayne also come in.

England beat Wales 52-0 in last year’s Women’s Six Nations and despite victory against France, Middleton is looking for improvements in Cardiff on Sunday.

“While we were extremely pleased with our first-half performance against France we were disappointed with our defensive efforts in the second half,” he explained.

“Defensively, we were nowhere near the level that 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 Women’s Six Nations, will give Wales great confidence going into the weekend.”

England squad to face Wales: 15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women), 14. Abby Dow (Wasps Ladies), 13. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies), 12. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women), 11. Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies), 10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning), 9. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury); 1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies), 2. Amy Cokayne (Wasps Ladies), 3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women), 4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning), 5. Abbie Scott (c) (Harlequins Ladies), 6. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo Ladies), 7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women), 8. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women)
Replacements: 16. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries), 17. Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women), 18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies), 19. Jo Brown (Loughborough Lightning), 20. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning), 21. Claudia Macdonald (Wasps Ladies), 22. Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning), 23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies)