Roses are Red Hot

Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton has made 10 changes to his side to take on Italy in their second pool game of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup on Sunday at Billings Park UCD.

Just like Warren Gatland did with the Lions, Middleton is planning to give all his squad a chance in the pool games.

Emily Scarratt comes in to captain the side at inside centre and is joined in the backs by a new half back pairing of Natasha Hunt and Amber Reed, while Olympian Amy Wilson Hardy comes in on the wing.

Lock Tamara Taylor will appear at her fourth World Cup, with Marlie Packer and Alex Matthews added to the back row and Rochelle Clark, Amy Cokayne and Justline Lucas making up a new front row.

England scored 10 tries in their 56-5 win over Spain but Middleton had said he would rotate his squad so every player had game time in the opening two matches.

In February, England beat the Italians, who are ranked ninth in the world, 29-15 in the 2017 Six Nations on their way to the Grand Slam, and have won all 15 of the fixtures between the two.

“We have options available to us in terms of selection and running different combinations,” said head coach Simon Middleton.

“We want to take full advantage of the depth, talent and experience in the squad. Our aim is to continually build and improve on performance, the team have recovered well and have been working hard over the past two days to ensure we are fully prepared for the next challenge.”

“We are expecting a tough and physical encounter. Italy have caused us plenty of problems in the past and are an incredibly talented side.”

Defending champions England are on a 10-match winning run heading into the game against an Italy side who are playing in their first World Cup in 15 years. Italy lost 24-12 to the USA in their opening match.

The game is available to watch on ITV 1 with build-up from 2pm, while there is radio commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra and a live text service on the World Rugby website.

England Women matchday 23 against Italy, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.

  1. Danielle Waterman (Bristol, 71 caps); 14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries, 33 caps), 13. Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, 70 caps) ©, 12. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies, 68 caps), 11. Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol, 7 caps); 10. Amber Reed (Bristol, 40 caps), 9. Natasha Hunt (Lichfield, 37 caps); 1. Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries, 125 caps), 2. Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 29 caps), 3. Justine Lucas (Lichfield, 23 caps), 4. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 106 caps), 5. Zoe Aldcroft (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 5 caps), 6. Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol, 33 caps, 7. Marlie Packer (Bristol, 47 caps), 8. Alex Matthews (Richmond, 33 caps).

Replacements: 16. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 9 caps), 17. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 27 caps), 18. Poppy Cleall (Bristol, 13 caps), 19. Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 47 caps), 20. Sarah Hunter (Bristol, 94 caps), 21. La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 67 caps), 22. Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 87 caps), 23. Megan Jones (Bristol, 5 caps).

Schedule Pool B

England 56-5 Spain
Wednesday 9 August, UCD Bowl, Dublin

England v Italy
Sunday 13 August – Billings Park UCD, Dublin (KO 2.30pm)
Live coverage ITV1 from 2pm

England v USA
Thursday 17 August – Billings Park UCD, Dublin (KO 2.30pm)
Live coverage ITV4 from 2pm

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