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England announce training squad for 2023 TikTok Women's Six Nations

By Lucy Lomax
English team poses with the trophy as they celebrate their Grand Slam victory after winning the Six Nations international women's rugby union match between France and England at Jean Dauger stadium in Bayonne, southwestern France, on April 30, 2022. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

England Women’s Head coach Simon Middleton has named a 42-player training squad for the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations, made up of 23 forwards and 19 backs.

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There are returns for in-form Gloucester-Hartpury scrum half Natasha Hunt who missed out on World Cup selection and club team-mate Sarah Beckett, as well as Bristol Bears captain Amber Reed and Harlequins front row Bryony Cleall.

Nine uncapped players, including Saracens duo May Campbell and Kelsey Clifford are selected, alongside Sale Sharks’ Elizabeth Duffy and Exeter Chiefs’ Nancy McGillivray who have both featured for England U20s.

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High-flying Gloucester-Hartpury’s uncapped Ellie Rugman also returns having been involved in previous training camps while Exeter Chiefs forward Poppy Leitch is also selected having last represented England in the 2019 Six Nations.

Saracens and England’s go-to fly-half Zoe Harrison has been ruled out by an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained against Harlequins and will be unavailable for the Six Nations and the remainder of the 2022/23 Allianz Premier15s season.

Lock Abbie Ward (pregnancy) and regular vice-captain Emily Scarratt (injury) will be with the group for set days throughout the tournament to support with the coaching delivery.

Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer will co-captain the squad for the tournament.

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England open their TikTok Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Newcastle (Saturday 25 March, kick-off 4.45pm at Kingston Park), before hosting Italy (Sunday 2 April, kick-off 3pm at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton).

They then travel to Cardiff to take on Wales at Cardiff Arms Park (Saturday 15 April, kick-off 2.15pm) before visiting Ireland (Saturday 22 April, kick-off 2.15pm, Musgrave Park, Cork).

All teams are again in action on ‘Super Saturday’ where England’s final game of the tournament sees them host France in the team’s first standalone fixture at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 29 April, kick-off 1pm, with over 35,000 tickets already sold.

Speaking about the captaincy, leadership and coaching potential within the squad, Head coach Middleton said: “Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer will co-captain the squad. Sarah has made it clear she will not be involved in the 2025 World Cup as a player, so it’s essential we look to continue to grow our leadership quality and depth. Marlie is already an integral part of our leadership group, so this is a natural progression for her to co-captain the side and continue to develop her leadership skills.

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“Both Abbie Ward and Emily Scarratt expressed a wish to support our Six Nations campaign despite their playing absence. Both are an integral part of our strategy and leadership group and in my opinion, have great coaching potential in terms of their knowledge and their delivery. Coaching is an area of the women’s game we all recognise as one of the next big pillars to put in place, so it stands to reason that we jump on this opportunity to support both in an area they have expressed a wish to develop.”

England 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations squad

Forwards
Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 38 caps)
Sarah Beckett (Gloucester-Hartpury, 25 caps)
Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 52 caps)
May Campbell (Saracens, uncapped)
Bryony Cleall (Harlequins, 7 caps)
Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 63 caps)
Kelsey Clifford (Saracens, uncapped)
Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 70 caps)
Liz Crake (Wasps, uncapped)
Lark Davies (Bristol Bears, 44 caps)
Rosie Galligan (Harlequins, 9 caps)
Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 5 caps)
Sarah Hunter (CC; Loughborough Lightning, 140 caps)
Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 8 caps)
Poppy Leitch (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 56 caps)
Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 17 caps)
Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 24 caps)
Marlie Packer (CC; Saracens, 89 caps)
Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury, 7 caps)
Emily Robinson (Harlequins, uncapped)
Hannah Sims (Harlequins, uncapped)
Morwenna Talling (Loughborough Lightning, 5 caps)

Backs
Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 15 caps)
Jess Breach (Saracens, 24 caps)
Abby Dow (Harlequins, 30 caps)
Elizabeth Duffy (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 9 caps)
Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 60 caps)
Leanne Infante (Saracens, 57 caps)
Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 31 caps)
Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs, 24 caps)
Nancy McGillivray (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 43 caps)
Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 9 caps)
Amber Reed (Bristol Bears, 62 caps)
Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 22 caps)
Ellie Rugman (Gloucester-Hartpury, uncapped)
Emma Sing (Gloucester-Hartpury, 2 caps)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors, 58 caps)
Lagi Tuima (Harlequins, 12 caps)
Ella Wyrwas (Saracens, uncapped)

Players unavailable for selection: Hannah Botterman (knee), Vickii Cornborough (personal reasons), Vicky Fleetwood (ankle), Laura Keates (anterior cruciate ligament), Zoe Harrison (anterior cruciate ligament), Emily Scarratt (neck and ankle), Abbie Ward (pregnancy).

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