Middleton names England squad

Date published: January 18 2017

England Women head coach Simon Middleton has announced his 33-player squad for the Six Nations which gets underway on Saturday, February 4.

The Red Roses will host three games at home, kicking off against 2016 champions France at Twickenham, after the conclusion of the men’s game.

There are four new names added to the squad, with Bianca Blackburn (Worcester Valkyries), Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) and Leanne Riley (Aylesford Bulls) coming into the England set up.

Claire Allan (Saracens), Emily Braund (Lichfield) and Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) are notable absentees through injury, while Emma Croker announced her retirement from international rugby at the end of last year.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks second-row forward Tamara Taylor will be looking to gain her 100th international appearance, entering the tournament just two short of the landmark. Amber Reed (Bristol) and Sarah McKenna (Saracens) are also named after time out through injury.

In addition to the opening game against France at Twickenham, England play twice at the Twickenham Stoop; against Italy on Saturday, February 25, and Scotland on Saturday, March 11.

They travel to Cardiff Arms Park on February 11 to take on Wales, finishing their campaign in Dublin against Ireland, hosts of the 2017 Women’s World Cup, on Friday, March 17.

Middleton said: “This is a huge year and we now have a squad training full time. Our preparation is based around a world-class programme and the Six Nations forms a key milestone ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August.

“There is strength and depth in this squad and, while we will be taking one week at a time and working to build through the tournament, our ambition is to win the Six Nations trophy.”

Forwards

Zoe Aldcroft (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Sarah Bern (Bristol), Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries), Poppy Cleall (Bristol), Amy Cokayne (Lichfield), Vickii Cornborough (Aylesford Bulls) *suspended from 10 January to 27 February, Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries), Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (Bristol), Laura Keates (Worcester Valkyries), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Justine Lucas (Lichfield), Alex Matthews (Richmond), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)l Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol), Marlie Packer (Bristol), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)

Backs

Bianca Blackburn (Worcester Valkyries), Rachael Burford (Aylesford Bulls), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), Megan Jones (Bristol), La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Sarah McKenna (Saracens), Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Fiona Pocock (Aylesford Bulls), Amber Reed (Bristol), Leanne Riley (Aylesford Bulls), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Emily Scott (Saracens), Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries), Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Kay Wilson (Richmond), Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol)

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