England Women’s Head coach Simon Middleton has made five changes to his side that has already done the double over France as prepare to take on Italy at Goldington Road, Bedford this weekend.
In the final England international of the year, in comes Emily Scott at inside centre along with Claudia MacDonald on the wing in the only change’s to the three quarters, while scrum half Natasha Hunt is recalled taking her place and with it earn her 50th cap for England.
Also recalled is Flanker Vicky Fleetwood, lock Poppy Cleall and prop forward Shaunagh Brown, while Skipper Sarah Hunter retains her place as she joins former Men’s international prop Jason Leonard as joint second on England’s all time list with 119 caps.
With Leonard being a long time retired, the Loughborough Lightning forward will be pushing to overtake former England team mate Rochelle Clark who with 137 caps hold top spot.
Peaking at the team announcement, Middleton spoke about taking chances as he said;
“The game is a big opportunity for those who have been waiting in the wings this series to show us what they can do and help end our calendar year strongly.
“We’ve brought Claudia Macdonald back into the group. Claudia is a dynamic, versatile player who carries a threat as both a scrum half and a winger. Her potential as a winger surfaced with a strong performance against New Zealand in the Super Series and we’re looking forward to seeing how she performs this time around on the wing at Goldington Road.
“I'd also like to congratulate Mo [Natasha Hunt] on her 50th cap – it's a fantastic achievement for any player. She brings a number of qualities with her on-field ability and infectious personality, and she deserves to enjoy this moment.”
England's Starting XV
15 Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women – 27 caps)
14 Abby Dow (Wasps FC Ladies – 8 caps)
13 Emily Scarratt (VC) (Loughborough Lightning – 84 caps)
12 Emily Scott (Harlequins Women – 34 caps)
11 Claudia MacDonald (Wasps FC Ladies – 7 caps)
10 Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women – 19 caps)
9 Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury Women – 49 caps)
1 Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women – 16 caps)
2 Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks – 21 caps)
3 Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women – 11 caps)
4 Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women – 35 caps)
5 Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury Women – 15 caps)
6 Marlie Packer (Saracens Women – 70 caps)
7 Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women – 71 caps)
8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Loughborough Lightning – 118 caps)
16 Amy Cokayne (Harlequins Women/RAF – 45 caps)
17 Ellena Perry (Gloucester-Hartpury Women – 9 caps)
18 Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women – 30 caps)
19 Sarah Beckett (Harlequins Women – 12 caps)
20 Rownita Marston (Bristol Bears Women – 1 cap)
21 Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women – 33 caps)
22 Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning – 109 caps)
23 Jess Breach (Harlequins Women – 9 caps)