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Seven changes for John Mitchell's England in Six Nations round two

By Liam Heagney
England huddle last Sunday in Italy (Photo by Chris Ricco/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

John Mitchell has made seven changes to his England team for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations round two game at home to Wales in Bristol.

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The defending champions eventually put Italy to the round one sword last Sunday in Parma, winning 48-0 despite the loss of Sarah Beckett to an early red card.

The No8 has since been given a three-game suspension and her starting position has been taken by the promoted Alex Matthews, who is one of three alterations to the pack.

Video Spacer

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

Video Spacer

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

Tighthead Maud Muir is another to gain elevation from the replacements, taking over from the benched Kelsey Clifford, and the fit-again Rosie Galligan comes straight in at second row with Abbie Ward reverting to the subs.

In the backs, there are freshened-up combinations at both midfield and half-back.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
England Women's
46 - 10
Full-time
Wales Women's
All Stats and Data

Megan Jones, another sub against the Italians, and Tatyana Heard have been named to start at centre in place of Helena Rowland and Emily Scarratt.

Natasha Hunt and Holly Aitchison have also been chosen at scrum-half and out-half respectively, with Lucy Packer and Zoe Harrison providing bench back-up.

Saturday’s fixture is set to attract the largest attendance for a home England women’s match outside of Twickenham, a prospect that greatly enthused coach Mitchell. “We’re excited to play in front of a home crowd for the first time in this year’s tournament,” he said in the RFU team release statement.

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“To have sold 18,000 tickets with two days to go until matchday shows the appetite for Red Roses rugby in this country.

“The girls have been focused on the opportunity that a match against Wales presents and we have been planning and building on this short week for some time. All teams will be better for their second outing and we are looking forward to improving our game.”

England (vs Wales, Saturday)
15. Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 39 caps)
14. Abby Dow (Trailfinders Women, 41 caps)
13. Megan Jones (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 18 caps)
11. Jess Breach (Saracens, 34 caps)
10. Holly Aitchison (Bristol Bears, 26 caps)
9. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 68 caps)
1. Hannah Botterman (Bristol Bears, 43 caps)
2. Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears, 55 caps)
3. Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 26 caps)
4. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 49 caps)
5. Rosie Galligan (Saracens, 14 caps)
6. Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 14 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens, 100 caps) – captain
8. Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 63 caps)

Replacements:
16. Connie Powell (Harlequins, 15 caps)
17. Mackenzie Carson (Gloucester-Hartpury, 11 caps)
18. Kelsey Clifford (Saracens, 4 caps)
19. Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears, 62 caps)
20. Maddie Feaunati (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
21. Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 17 caps)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 47 caps)
23. Sydney Gregson (Saracens, 3 caps)

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