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Recall for skipper Marlie Packer as England change two for Ireland

By Liam Heagney
England's Marlie Packer is one of two changes versus Ireland (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

England boss John Mitchell has confirmed two changes to his team for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations round four clash with Ireland at Twickenham, including the restoration of Marlie Packer as a back row starter.

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Looking to win their sixth successive championship title, the English came away from Edinburgh last weekend with a 46-0 round three victory over Scotland.

Mitchell lost hooker Amy Cokayne to a red card (two yellows) during that eight-try success and her one-match suspension has resulted in Lark Atkin-Davies retaking the starting spot she had for the round two win over Wales on March 30.

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England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

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England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

The hooker, who was a first-half try-scorer in that 46-10 Ashton Gate triumph, needed a half-time HIA and didn’t return to play in the second half, a development that led to Mitchell recalling Cokayne last weekend for her first Test in 12 months.

England’s other change in personnel versus the Irish sees the recall of skipper Packer at openside after she was only chosen as a replacement last weekend in Scotland.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
England Women's
88 - 10
Full-time
Ireland Women's
All Stats and Data

Packer came off the bench to score the last of her team’s tries, and her inclusion this weekend to start at the expense of excluded second row Abbie Ward has caused two positional switches.

Sadia Kabeya, who was at No7 at the Hive, swaps to blindside and Zoe Aldcroft, who skippered the team from back row, reverts to the second row to take the spot filled by Ward.

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Seventeen of the selected 23 were involved in last year’s Grand Slam-deciding Twickenham clash with France and with over 46,500 supporters expected to be in attendance for this weekend’s clash with the Irish, Mitchell can’t wait to see his team play.

“We are excited for the opportunity of another crack at Twickenham in front of our awesome fans,” he enthused. “We want to continue to get better in our game and make the most of the experience to benefit us in the future.”

England (vs Ireland, Saturday)
15. Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 41 caps)
14. Abby Dow (Trailfinders Women, 43 caps)
13. Megan Jones (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 20 caps)
11. Jess Breach (Saracens, 36 caps)
10. Holly Aitchison (Bristol Bears, 28 caps)
9. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 70 caps)
1. Hannah Botterman (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)
2. Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears, 56 caps)
3. Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 28 caps)
4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 51 caps)
5. Rosie Galligan (Saracens, 16 caps)
6. Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 16 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens, 102 caps) – captain
8. Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 65 caps)

Replacements:
16. Connie Powell (Harlequins, 17 caps)
17. Mackenzie Carson (Gloucester-Hartpury, 13 caps)
18. Kelsey Clifford (Saracens, 6 caps)
19. Morwenna Talling (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)
20. Maddie Feaunati (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
21. Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 19 caps)
22. Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 109 caps)
23. Sydney Gregson (Saracens, 5 caps)

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