Simon Middleton makes three changes for England Red Roses’ clash with France Women


England Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton has made three changes to his starting XV for their Six Nations match against France Women, live on Sky Sports.

All of the changes come in the forward pack as Middleton has opted to stick with the same back-line that helped put 51 points on the board against Ireland in their round one match.

Harlequins’ forward Vickii Cornborough comes in at loosehead prop, meaning Hannah Botterman will need to wait and make her impact off the bench. Cornborough will pack down with Lark Davies and Sarah Bern.

Fellow Quin Abbie Scott has been given the nod in the second-row and her presence brings about a positional change as Poppy Cleall moves out to blindside flanker.

Elsewhere in the back-row, Bristol Bears flanker Poppy Leitch has been called in to replace the highly experienced Marlie Packer at openside.

Packer is rested after sustaining a shoulder knock in England’s opening game at Donnybrook Stadium.

“Vickii and Abbie bring considerable experience to the forward pack while Poppy is a great addition having played consistently well in the Tyrrells Premier 15s and for the National Academy side in the autumn,” Middleton said.

“We will rest Marlie this weekend with the aim of having her back later in the Championship.”

France, who won the Grand Slam last year, also dominated their opening-round match and ended up as 52-3 winners against Wales in Montpellier.

Last year’s Six Nations meeting between the two took place at the Stade des Alpes, with France snatching an 18-17 victory just minutes from the full-time whistle.

Middleton is well aware of the challenge that awaits his side on Sunday and has said that their opponents go into the match as ‘favourites’.

“We have no misconception of the size of the challenge ahead of us against France on Sunday,” Middleton added. “We were pleased with our performance against Ireland but we now have to improve to get a winning outcome.

“Given their recent form and the fact France come into the tournament as champions, they rightly go into the game favourites.

“We have confidence in this squad and have had an excellent preparation through the week. We are really looking forward to returning to Doncaster where we had fantastic support from the crowd in November.”

England Red Roses: 15. Sarah McKenna, 14. Jess Breach, 13. Emily Scarratt, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Kelly Smith, 10. Katy Daley-Mclean, 9. Leanne Riley, 1. Vickii Cornborough, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Catherine O’Donnell, 5. Abbie Scott, 6. Poppy Cleall, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Sarah Hunter (C).

Replacements: 16. Amy Cokayne, 17. Hannah Botterman, 18. Shaunagh Brown, 19. Rowena Burnfield, 20. Sarah Beckett, 21. Natasha Hunt, 22. Zoe Harrison, 23. Emily Scott.

Watch England Women taking on France Women in Doncaster, live on Sky Sports Action and Mix this Sunday from 12.30pm #RiseWithUs

(c) Sky News 2019: Simon Middleton makes three changes for England Red Roses’ clash with France Women

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