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England and France reveal teams for opening Test in Grenoble

England and France reveal teams for opening Test in Grenoble

Emily Scarratt will captain England Women against Wales. ©Inpho

England and France have named their teams for the opening match of their autumn double-header as the Women’s Six Nations rivals prepare to clash at Stade des Alpes.

Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton has selected Helena Rowland and Zoe Harrison in the 10-12 axis while Laura Keates is set to earn her first cap since March 2017 from the bench.

Harlequins trio Vickii Cornborough, Amy Cokayne and Shaunagh Brown make up the front row, with Alex Matthews starting at blindside flanker for the encounter in Grenoble.

The game comes too soon for Sarah Hunter who continues her return from injury so Emily Scarratt will once again captain the side with lock Abbie Ward vice-captain.

Middleton said: “We’re really looking forward to heading out to France for what will be another competitive game.

“We see this fixture as a big opportunity for some of our younger players to play away in France, which is always one of our toughest games.

“Given our two 2021 Six Nations games against France and Italy are both at home, this is a big opportunity to compete against top quality opposition away from home ahead of next year’s World Cup.

“Helena Rowland has really impressed since her return to XVs with Loughborough and deserves her chance. We’re really looking forward to seeing her link up with Zoe Harrison.

“We know what Katy Daley-Mclean can do on the big stage and the presence she brings and see this game as an opportunity for others.

“It’s been great to have Sarah Hunter back training with us this week. We’re managing her return carefully and won’t take any risks.”

Annick Hayraud is also looking to give an opportunity to her more inexperienced players against England after revealing her team for Saturday’s showdown.

She said: “We then had the opportunity to have a larger group and we had wanted to observe some for a while. The preparation for this match made it possible without forgetting that it is also an opportunity to give playing time against this type of nation.

“Clearly what is being done best at the moment. We must not hesitate to make them evolve against these teams since we do not have much opportunity to be able to do so.”

France: 15. Shannon Izar, 14. Coralie Bertrand, 13. Maëlle Filopon, 12. Carla Neisen, 11. Marine Menager, 10. Caroline Drouin, 9. Laure Sansus; 1. Annaëlle Deshave, 2. Agathe Sochat, 3. Rose Bernadou, 4. Céline Ferer, 5. Coumba Diallo, 6. Marjorie Mayans, 7. Gaëlle Hermet (c), 8. Emeline Gros

Replacements: 16. Laure Touye, Rkya Ait Lahbib, Chloe Pelle, Manae Feleu, Fiona Lecat, Pauline Bourdon, Gabrielle Vernier, Elise Pignot

England: 15. Ellie Kildunne, 14. Jess Breach, 13. Emily Scarratt (c), 12. Zoe Harrison, 11. Abby Dow, 10. Helena Rowland, 9. Leanne Riley; 1. Vickii Cornborough, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Shaunagh Brown, 4. Abbie Ward, 5. Poppy Cleall, 6. Alex Matthews, 7. Marlie Packer, 8. Sarah Beckett

Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Detysha Harper, 18. Laura Keates, 19. Morwenna Talling, 20. Harriet Millar-Mills, 21. Claudia MacDonald, 22. Kelly Smith, 23. Megan Jones