Red Roses can't wait to grace the Gardens again as Italy come calling

The Red Roses cruised past Scotland at Kingston Park last weekendThe Red Roses cruised past Scotland at Kingston Park last weekend
The Red Roses cruised past Scotland at Kingston Park last weekend
England head coach Simon Middleton says the Red Roses can't wait to play at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

More than 12,000 tickets have been sold for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations match against Italy, which will be shown live on BBC Two.

And Middleton, who steered his side to a 58-7 win against Scotland at Kingston Park last weekend, said: “We’re really looking forward to Sunday’s game against Italy in Northampton.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s great to have Northampton Saints hosting this fixture, especially as they have done a great deal to develop rugby for women and girls in the area.

"We had a memorable day at Franklin’s Gardens in the 2021 autumn international against New Zealand and hopefully we can put on a show.”

Middleton has named his 23-player Red Roses matchday squad to take on Italy, with Marlie Packer captaining the team at openside flanker.

Zoe Aldcroft is vice-captain at No.8 and Sadia Kabeya is blindside flanker.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bristol Bears’ Delaney Burns is set to earn her first cap at lock, with Cath O’Donnell lining up alongside her.

Loosehead prop Mackenzie Carson, hooker Amy Cokayne and tighthead Sarah Bern form an unchanged starting front row.

Holly Aitchison and Tatyana Heard are the 10-12 axis while full-back Abby Dow, Jess Breach and Claudia MacDonald are the back three.

Lagi Tuima retains her place at outside centre, with her Harlequins team-mate Lucy Packer at scrum-half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Harlequins’ Emily Robinson could earn her first senior international cap as she takes her place among the substitutes.

Detysha Harper sustained an Achilles tendon injury in training yesterday and will miss the rest of the tournament.

Bristol Bears prop Simi Pam has joined the squad today and will travel to Northampton as a non-playing reserve.

“We were pleased to get our campaign up and running with a good win against Scotland last weekend which was a fitting send-off for long-time captain Sarah Hunter," Middleton said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Marlie Packer will now take over the role for the rest of the tournament and will want to stamp her own brand of leadership on the team starting against Italy.

“Delaney Burns has impressed us immensely. Her lineout and set piece understanding is strong and she deserves her start.

“Emily Robinson has been a prominent part of our programme for a good period. Injury meant she has had to bide her time, but she’s been excellent since she’s come in during the Six Nations and we look forward to seeing how she fares.

“We are naturally gutted to lose Poppy Cleall and Amber Reed to injury but are confident they’ll return before the end of this tournament.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Everyone is devastated for Detysha Harper following her injury yesterday. ‘Tysh’ is a top player, has an infectious personality and is a big loss for us. We all wish her a speedy recovery.

“Giovanni Raineri and his staff will have their Italy team well prepared for this Six Nations, and that was clearly reflected in last weekend’s strong opening performance, when they lost 22-12 to World Cup semi-finalists France."

England team to play Italy: 15. Abby Dow (Harlequins, 31 caps); 14. Jess Breach (Saracens, 25 caps), 13. Lagi Tuima (Harlequins, 13 caps), 12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 10 caps), 11. Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs, 25 caps); 10. Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 16 caps), 9. Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 10 caps); 1. Mackenzie Carson (Saracens, 1 cap), 2. Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 71 caps), 3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 53 caps); 4. Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 25 caps), 5. Delaney Burns (Bristol Bears, uncapped); 6. Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 9 caps), 7. Marlie Packer (c; Saracens, 90 caps), 8. Zoe Aldcroft (VC; Gloucester-Hartpury, 39 caps)

Finishers: 16. Lark Davies (Bristol Bears, 45 caps), 17. Liz Crake (Wasps, 1 cap), 18. Kelsey Clifford (Saracens, 1 cap), 19. Sarah Beckett (Gloucester-Hartpury, 26 caps), 20. Emily Robinson (Harlequins, uncapped), 21. Ella Wyrwas (Saracens, 1 cap), 22. Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 43 caps), 23. Emma Sing (Gloucester-Hartpury, 3 caps)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Players currently injured/ undertaking rehab and therefore unavailable for selection for this fixture: Hannah Botterman, Bryony Cleall, Poppy Cleall, Detysha Harper, Natasha Hunt, Ellie Kildunne, Alex Matthews, Maud Muir, Amber Reed, Helena Rowland, Hannah Sims, Morwenna Talling.

Other long-term absentees unavailable for the tournament: Vickii Cornborough, Vicky Fleetwood, Rosie Galligan, Zoe Harrison, Laura Keates, Emily Scarratt, Abbie Ward.

Related topics: