Women’s Sport: Simon Middleton names side to face France in Pau on Sunday


Harriett Millar-Mills has returned to England’s matchday squad to face France in the Six Nations opener this Sunday, whilst Vicky Fleetwood starts at flanker in place of the injured Marlie Packer. 

England has arrived in France ahead of Sunday’s game, looking to retain the Grand-Slam crown that they won in comprehensive fashion last year. 

The teams met twice in November last year, with England coming out on top both home and away.

Since 2016, England and France have traded Six Nations titles, but it is England who enters this game in better form, sitting second in the World Rankings, less than a point behind New Zealand.

England can replace New Zealand at the top of the rankings if they win by more than 15 points.

Vickii Cornborough is in line to receive her 50th cap and is expected to come off the bench at some point in the match.

England’s side averages 43 caps apiece between them, with Loughborough Lightning number eight Sarah Hunter who has 119 caps of her own, chosen to lead the side.

England will also be boosted by starts for World Rugby Player of the Year, Emily Scarratt at outside-centre, and Jess Breach on the wing. The breach was the top try-scorer in the competition last year with nine tries in total.

Another player of the year nominee, Sarah Bern starts on the bench as Shaunagh Brown has been given the nod at tight-head

Coach, Simon Middleton said “we are all looking forward to another meeting with France. As you saw in the autumn and in all of our most recent contests, games between the two sides are always tight, cagey affairs and we don’t expect this one to be any different.”

The lineups for both teams are as follows:

France: Tremouliere; Boujard, Boudaud, Vernier, Banet; Bourdon, Sansus; Arricastre, Sochat, Deshaye, Forlani, Fall, Ferer, Hermet (c), R Menager.
Replacements: Thomas, Traore, Joyeux, N'Diaye, Annery, Peyronnet, Konde, M Menager.

England: McKenna; Dow, Scarratt (vc), Harrison, Breach; Daley-McLean, Hunt; Botterman, Cokayne, Brown, P Cleall, Aldcroft, Beckett, Fleetwood, Hunter (c).
Replacements: Davies, Cornborough, Bern, Millar-Mills, Harper, Riley, Reed, Scott.

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