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Hunt recalled as Middleton names Red Roses squad

By Nick Heath
Barbarians' Natasha Hunt in action during the Women's International Rugby Killik Cup match between Barbarian Women and Springbok Women's XV (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

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England head coach Simon Middleton has named a 40-player training squad for the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations with a recall for World Cup-winning scrumhalf Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt.

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It is a huge boost for the Gloucester Hartpury captain who last pulled on the white jersey in November 2020. Hunt has been in fine form in the Allianz Premier 15s and having become a double Olympian with Team GB 7s last August, the 32-year old will know what a huge opportunity this is in another World Cup year.

There is welcome news too for Emily Scarratt who is included having recently returned from the broken leg she sustained on the opening day of the season. Others back from injury who also missed the autumn campaign are Wasps’ Bryony Cleall and Saracens’ Vicky Fleetwood while Shaunagh Brown is also back in to shore up the scrum.

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There are three uncapped players included – Saracens hooker May Campbell and scrumhalf Ella Wyrwas plus Gloucester Hartpury full back Emma Sing. There is also a recall for Harlequins’ Rosie Galligan who made her Red Roses debut against Ireland in the 2019 Six Nations.

England won last year’s championship albeit under a changed format designed to limit disruption due to Covid. This year, with a first title sponsor in TikTok, the full round-robin version returns. The Red Roses will not just be aiming to defend their title as winners from last year but extend a winning run that goes back 18 matches.

The squad contains eight players who lifted the World Cup trophy in 2014. Of those, Sarah Hunter will be hoping to add further caps to an incredible 130 gained so far. 2022 could be the year that the England captain becomes the country’s most-capped player.

In contrast Sadia Kabeya, Maud Muir, Connie Powell, Holly Aitchison, Heather Cowell, Lucy Packer and the three uncapped players have yet to experience a minute of TikTok Women’s 6 Nations rugby.

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The group will meet at St. George’s Park tomorrow for the first of two camps at the East Midlands venue before fine-tuning their preparations at Bisham Abbey.

Head coach Middleton said: “This is our last competitive tournament before we go into the World Cup so it’s an opportunity for players to put their best foot forward.

Simon Middleton
Simon Middleton (Photo by Catherine Ivill – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

“We’ve got some great young players coming through including the likes of Maud Muir and Sadia Kabeya. We also have Lucy Packer, who I think has been absolutely outstanding in the Allianz Premier 15s. We can’t wait to see how they continue with their development.

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“We have a tremendous amount of competition in the squad both in terms of the established players and especially in terms of the younger players now coming through, which is great.”

England open their Six Nations campaign in Edinburgh on Saturday 26 March, a noon kick off against Scotland at the DAM Health Stadium.

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England 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations squad

Forwards
Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 28 caps)
Sarah Beckett (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 40 caps)
Hannah Botterman (Saracens, 26 caps)
Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins, 24 caps)
Rowena Burnfield (Wasps, 50 caps)
May Campbell (Saracens, uncapped)
Bryony Cleall (Wasps, 5 caps)
Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 50 caps)
Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 60 caps)
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 64 caps)
Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 35 caps)
Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 79 caps)
Rosie Galligan (Harlequins, 1 cap)
Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 5 caps)
Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 130 caps)
Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 2 caps)
Alex Matthews (Worcester Warriors, 45 caps)
Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps, 66 caps)
Maud Muir (Wasps, 4 caps)
Marlie Packer (Saracens, 79 caps)
Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury, 1 cap)
Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears, 50 caps)

Backs
Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 4 caps)
Jess Breach (Harlequins, 19 caps)
Heather Cowell (Harlequins, 2 caps)
Abby Dow (Wasps, 22 caps)
Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 34 caps)
Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 55 caps)
Leanne Infante (Bristol Bears, 48 caps)
Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 18 caps)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 39 caps)
Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 1 cap)
Amber Reed (Bristol Bears, 58 caps)
Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 10 caps)
Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 96 caps)
Emma Sing (Gloucester-Hartpury, uncapped)
Lagi Tuima (Harlequins, 12 caps)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors, 50 caps)
Ella Wyrwas (Saracens, uncapped)

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