Jump to main content
  • Men' Six Nations
  • Womens
  • U20 Six Nations

Middleton makes trio of changes as England Women host Ireland

Middleton makes trio of changes as England Women host Ireland


England Women head coach Simon Middleton had made three changes to the side that beat Scotland 53-0 two weeks ago, as they prepare to welcome fellow unbeaten side Ireland on Sunday.

Harlequins’ Leanne Riley returns at scrum-half in place of the injured Hannah Botterman, while full-back Sarah McKenna and Katy Daly-Mclean also start for the Red Roses.

Loughborough Lightning’s Detysha Harper is also set for her first cap after being called up as a replacement.

Middleton says the control and calm Daly-Mclean brings in high-pressure games is behind the reasoning in selecting the experienced fly-half for the Round 3 clash.

He said: “We’ve brought Katy [Daly-Mclean] back in for this game as her ability to marshal the troops and manage the side around the field will be essential in such a high-pressure game. Katy brings a calmness and composure to the No.10 role which is critical in such big games.

“Leanne Riley returns as we rotated the squad from last week. Mo Hunt went well for us in Scotland as did Claudia MacDonald who I thought had her best performance in an England shirt coming on as a finisher.

“We are lucky to have three such outstanding scrum halves and it’s crucial we keep them all ticking over, hence the changes for this week.

“We also know we have a group of players who can rise to any challenge and a game to suit all conditions, we have shown that over the first two rounds and we know we have the qualities to do it again on Sunday regardless of whatever either Ireland or the weather throw up.”

With a sold-out Castle Park to play host in Doncaster, Middleton admits he is excited to bring the Women’s Six Nations to a “real hotbed of rugby union”.

“This is the third time we will have played at Castle Park. It’s fantastic to see the game is now sold-out and we are all grateful for the support,” he added.

“Yorkshire is a real hotbed of rugby union, a proud rugby area and we’re really looking forward to Sunday’s game.”

England team:

15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 30 caps)
14. Abby Dow (Wasps FC Ladies, 11 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (VC, Loughborough Lightning, 87 caps)
12. Amber Reed (Bristol Bears Women, 55 caps)
11. Jess Breach (Harlequins Women, 12 caps)
10. Katy Daly-McLean (Loughborough Lightning, 112 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women, 35 caps)

1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Women, 51 caps)
2. Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 24 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women, 33 caps)
4. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 38 caps)
5. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury Women, 18 caps)
6. Sarah Beckett (Harlequins Women, 15 caps)
7. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women, 74 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter (C, Loughborough Lightning, 121 caps)


16. Amy Cokayne (Harlequins Women/RAF, 48 caps)
17. Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 0 caps)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women, 15 caps)
19. Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies, 53 caps)
20. Amelia Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 2 caps)
21. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 52 caps)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 22 caps)
23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Women, 36 caps)