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Red Roses name matchday 23 for showdown in Northampton

England head coach Simon Middleton has named his 23-player Red Roses matchday squad to take on Italy at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.

Two Loughborough Lightning players in second row Cath O’Donnell and flanker Sadia Kabeya start the clash, which kicks off at 3pm, earning their 26th and tenth caps respectively. 

Marlie Packer captains the side at open-side flanker, while Zoe Aldcroft is vice-captain at No.8. Bristol Bears’ Delaney Burns is set to earn her first cap at lock alongside O’Donnell, with Mackenzie Carson (loose-head prop), Amy Cokayne (hooker) and Sarah Bern (tight-head prop) forming an unchanged starting front row.

Holly Aitchison and Tatyana Heard are the 10-12 axis while Abby Dow (fullback), Jess Breach (right wing) and Claudia MacDonald (left wing) are the back three. Lagi Tuima retains her place at outside centre with her Harlequins teammate Lucy Packer at scrum half.

Over 12,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday’s game, and there’s still time to secure your seat from just £15 adult and £5 child by CLICKING HERE*.

Middleton said: “We’re really looking forward to Sunday’s game against Italy in Northampton.

“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-term captain Sarah Hunter.

“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.

“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.

“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 again.”

Simon Middleton, England Head Coach

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)

Replacements:
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)

* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee.

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