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Six Nations Women 2021: Sarah Hunter returns to lead Red Roses after 13 months of absence against Italy |  Rugby news


The Red Roses visit Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma to take on the Italian women as they look to build on last week’s 52-10 win over Scotland in their Six Nations opener.

Last updated: 08/04/21 12:03 pm

Sarah Hunter is back at No.8 for England

Sarah Hunter is in line to win her 124th England cap in her first international game in 13 months when the Red Roses face Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Hunter returns to the side after more than a year of absence due to injury, while Alex Matthews and Vicky Fleetwood arrive at the blind side flanker and the open side flanker respectively.

Harlequins trio Vickii Cornborough, Amy Cokayne and Shaunagh Brown form the front row, while Zoe Aldcroft and Cath O’Donnell form the second row.

Helena Rowland and Megan Jones make the starting combination 10-12 while Leanne Riley continues in the scrum half. Vice-captain Emily Scarratt retains her place in the away center.

Six Nations Women 2021: Sarah Hunter returns to lead Red Roses after 13 months of absence against Italy |  Rugby news

Jess Breach switches to the right wing

Wasps back Ellie Kildunne and Abby Dow return to the starting XV, Jess Breach moves to the right wing after playing on the left last weekend.

Prop Hannah Botterman could make her first England appearance of the season, while Zoe Harrison is also among the finalists.

Head coach Simon Middleton said: “I was very happy with some aspects of our game against Scotland and I thought we were exceptional for the majority of the first half. The frustrating part was that we were we got put in a position where we wanted to be in the game but then didn’t start.

“The ability to maintain a high level of performance for the majority if not all of the game is what we are working towards in training, so doing a good 40 minutes and not going back in the second half was not what we wanted.

“We have had a good week of training and looked to resolve disciplinary issues such as penalty counts. In the past we have prided ourselves on our discipline, but defensively we are looking to play more on the sidelines. and you can’t do that without walking a fine line, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the right side.

Six Nations Women 2021: Sarah Hunter returns to lead Red Roses after 13 months of absence against Italy |  Rugby news

Hannah Botterman is on the bench

“This game in Italy also gives us the opportunity to look at other combinations and we have decided to rotate the team.

“We are delighted to have Sarah Hunter back on the team. She loves playing for her country and has worked very hard to come back to play.”

The England team will face Italy

15 Ellie Kildunne, 14 Jess Breach, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Megan Jones, 11 Abby Dow, 10 Helena Rowland, 9 Leanne Riley; 1 Vickii Cornborough, 2 Amy Cokayne, 3 Shaunagh Brown, 4 Zoe Aldcroft, 5 Cath O’Donnell, 6 Alex Matthews, 7 Vicky Fleetwood, 8 Sarah Hunter.

Substitutes: 16 Lark Davies, 17 Hannah Botterman, 18 Bryony Cleall, 19 Harriet Millar-Mills, 20 Poppy Cleall, 21 Claudia MacDonald, 22 Zoe Harrison, 23 Sarah McKenna.

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