Hunt set to earn 50th cap against Italy
Posted: 21st November 2019
Simon Middleton has made six changes to the England Women’s team to play Italy in their Quilter International at Bedford’s Goldington Road this weekend.
Natasha Hunt, who is set to earn her 50th cap, is named at scrum half as the Red Roses take on the Italians [Saturday 23 November, KO 3pm, live on EnglandRugby.com and England Rugby channels].
Sarah Hunter again captains the side at No 8 to reach her 119th cap going joint second in England’s all-time list of Test players with Jason Leonard, who played 114 times for England and five times for the British & Irish Lions, with only former Red Roses prop Rochelle Clark ahead of the pair on 137 caps.
Zoe Harrison will play at fly-half while Marlie Packer moves to blindside flanker.
Harlequins prop Shaunagh Brown and club team-mate Emily Scott are included while Saracens forwards Poppy Cleall and Vicky Fleetwood also come into the starting XV at lock and openside flanker respectively.
Meanwhile, Wasps FC Ladies’ Claudia Macdonald receives her first call up of the autumn period and will play on the wing while Amy Cokayne is among the finishers.
Cleall and Abby Dow continue to follow their graduated return to play protocols after sustaining concussion in last Saturday’s last-gasp victory over France at Sandy Park and are expected to be fit.
Fresh from earning her first cap, Bristol Bears Women forward Rownita Marston retains her place in the matchday 23.
Abbie Scott and Lydia Thompson are carrying injuries and will not be risked this weekend.
The game also comes too soon for Lark Davies who missed the match in Exeter.
Middleton said: “We’re really looking forward to the first ever Red Roses match in Bedford.
“It’s a traditional rugby club with a fantastic ground and fanbase who are so passionate and love their rugby.
“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 take this opportunity 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.”
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, 12 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)
Hannah West [Non-playing reserve – Wasps FC Ladies]