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Gloucester-Hartpury trio involved as England Women prepare for French test

Gloucester-Hartpury trio involved as England Women prepare for French test
England Women head coach Simon Middleton has made four changes to his starting XV ahead of the Red Roses Six Nations clash against France on Sunday 10 February, KO 12.45pm, live on Sky Sports Action.

Gloucester-Hartpury are well represented, with Tatyana Heard and Kelly Smith continuing on the wing, with experienced scrum half Natasha Hunt named amongst the replacements.

The Red Roses return to Castle Park, Doncaster, to take on the 2018 title holders after overcoming Ireland 51-7 in Dublin last Friday.

Harlequins forwards Vickii Cornborough and Abbie Scott return to the starting line-up at prop and second row respectively, moving Poppy Cleall in a positional change to flanker. Bristol Bears flanker Poppy Leitch has been called in to replace Marlie Packer, who is rested having picked up a knock (shoulder) in England’s opening game against Ireland.

[caption id="attachment_25262" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Kelly Smith Kelly Smith in action against Ireland (c) Getty Images[/caption]

England centurion Katy Daley-Mclean, who scored 16 points and one of England’s eight tries last Friday, again starts at fly-half in an unchanged back line.

Middleton said: “We have no misconception of the size of the challenge ahead of us against France on Sunday. We were pleased with our performance against Ireland but we now have to improve to get a winning outcome.

“Given their recent form and the fact France come into the tournament as champions, they rightly go into the game favourites.

“We have confidence in this squad and have had an excellent preparation through the week. We are really looking forward to returning to Doncaster where we had fantastic support from the crowd in November.”

On the changes he added: “Vickii and Abbie bring considerable experience to the forward pack while Poppy is a great addition having played consistently well in the Tyrrells Premier 15s and for the National Academy side in the autumn. We will rest Marlie this weekend with the aim of having her back later in the Championship.”

[caption id="attachment_25109" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Natasha Hunt Natasha Hunt (c) Getty Images[/caption]

France opened their 2019 Six Nations with a 52-3 win over Wales having won the 2018 Six Nations with an 18-17 victory over England in Grenoble. 

Tickets to Sunday’s game are now only available one the door, either by Castle Park on Friday 09:00-17:00 or arrive early on Sunday with gates opening from 10am.

England match-day 23 against France
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 18 caps)
14. Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies, 3 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 75 caps)
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 3 caps)
11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 6 caps)
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 103 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 25 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 42 caps)
2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 14 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women, 21 caps)
4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 8 caps)
5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 32 caps)
6. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 25 caps)
7. Poppy Leitch (Bristol Bears Women, 6 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 109 caps) ©
16. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 42 caps)
17. Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women, 6 caps)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies, 6 caps)
19. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond Ladies, 48 caps)
20. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo, 2 caps)
21. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 42 caps)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 9 caps)
23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 24 caps)
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Kingsholm Stadium
Gloucester Rugby
Sat 4 Jun
KO 15:00
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