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Scarratt named captain for England opener against Scotland

Scarratt

Emily Scarratt will captain England for their opening game of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations as the reigning champions begin their title defence against Scotland.

Simon Middleton has named the 2020 Player of the Championship as skipper, with the contest coming too soon for Sarah Hunter as she continues to manage her return to play.

Scarratt will lead out a team with a mixture of youth and experience in Doncaster, with prop Bryony Cleall set to earn just her second cap for the Red Roses.

She will take her place in the front row alongside Vickii Cornborough and Lark Davies while Cath O’Donnell starts at lock in her first international match since July 2019.

Zoe Aldcroft, Lydia Thompson and Sarah McKenna also return to take on Bryan Easson’s outfit at at Castle Park after missing the autumn internationals due to injury.

Emily Scarratt

Elsewhere, Leanne Riley starts at scrum-half alongside Helena Rowland at fly-half while winger Abby Dow misses the match, which will be live on BBC iPlayer, due to personal reasons.

Middleton said: “We’re pleased to be able to welcome a number of players back from injury. It’s great to have Bryony back in the frame.

“It’s over two years since her debut and she’s been really unfortunate with injuries, however she’s continued to work hard on her rehab and return to play programme and deserves her opportunity.

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“Similarly, Cath O’Donnell has been out for a long time. Cath brings a physicality and a go forward quality you need in international rugby and it’s great to see her back on the field.

“We’ve had a high quality week preparing in Doncaster and we are as ready as we can possibly be at this point to play.

“Games against Scotland are always special occasions and this one will be no different. We’re delighted our games are being broadcast across the BBC and are aiming to put on a show.”

England team

15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 32 caps)
14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors, 46 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (C; Loughborough Lightning, 92 caps)
12. Lagi Tuima (Harlequins Women, 6 caps)
11. Jess Breach (Harlequins Women, 15 caps)
10. Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women, 40 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Women 56 caps)
2. Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 28 caps)
3. Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women, 1 cap)
4. Abbie Ward (Harlequins Women 45 caps)
5. Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 16 caps)
6. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester Hartpury Women, 20 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 74 caps)
8. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 43 caps)

Finishers

16. Amy Cokayne (Harlequins Women, 53 caps)
17. Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women, 20 caps)
19. Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies, 58 caps)
20. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women, 76 caps)
21. Claudia MacDonald (Wasps FC Ladies, 12 caps)
22. Megan Jones (Wasps FC Ladies, 10 caps)
23. Ellie Kildunne (Wasps FC Ladies, 11 caps)