Planet Rugby

Hunter to skipper England

13th March 2014 18:11

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rochelle clark england womens

Loosehead: Rochelle Clark

England Women's captain Sarah Hunter says her side will be looking to finish the Six Nations on a high against Italy on Sunday.

Hunter, whose side can only hope Ireland beat France on Friday night to keep alive their Six Nations championship ambitions, says England are determined to execute another quality performance especially as the game is England's final match before the World Cup in France.

"Whatever the result between France and Ireland, we will be focusing on putting in a strong team performance and one that we can be happy and proud of," said Hunter, who takes over the captaincy armband from Katy Mclean.

"We need to play with control and intensity that suits the way we want to play. Italy are a difficult and competitive team to play against so we have to be more clinical than we were in our previous games and execute all the opportunities we create.

"We want to be better with every game we play and with this being our last game before the World Cup this is our final opportunity to see where we are as a team and what we need to work on before heading to France in the summer. A good performance can also give us momentum building into the World Cup both for our training camps and the competition itself."

England Women's Head Coach Gary Street has made a raft of changes for the match with 11 changes to the starting line-up, including four positional. Only wing Katherine Merchant, prop Rochelle Clark, lock Tamara Taylor and flanker Maggie Alphonsi retain their starting places from Friday's 35-3 win over Wales.

"Gary and Graham have created a squad that has strength and depth in every position so the changes that have been made will give people the opportunity to get some good game time ahead of the World Cup," added Hunter, who herself moves from number eight to flanker.

"The Six Nations is also a long competition so I think the changes will freshen things up a little. It's also great to see players like Danielle Waterman come back after such a long time out with injuries."

England Women: 15 Danielle Waterman, 14 Katherine Merchant, 13 Emily Scarratt, 12 Amber Reed, 11 Natasha Brennan, 10 Ceri Large, 9 Natasha Hunt, 8 Rebecca Essex, 7 Maggie Alphonsi, 6 Sarah Hunter (c), 5 Tamara Taylor, 4 Joanna McGilchrist, 3 Laura Keates, 2 Victoria Fleetwood, 1 Rochelle Clark
Replacements: 16 Mercedes Foy, 17 Claire Purdy, 18 Sophie Hemming, 19 Hannah Gallagher, 20 Marlie Packer, 21 Georgina Gulliver, 22 Katy Mclean, 23 Lydia Thompson

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