England Women’s Captain Sarah Hunter is looking forward to welcoming Ireland to Twickenham on Saturday night but recognises that taking on the reigning Six Nations title holders presents a ‘tough challenge’.
Lead Coach Scott Bemand has made one change to the starting XV, while Tamara Taylor returns to the squad to start on the bench and earn her 89th England cap. England Women are two from two so far this campaign, while Ireland suffered an 18-6 defeat to France most recently, having kicked off their tournament with a home win against Wales.
Captain Hunter said: “We can’t wait to run out there at Twickenham. This is our first home game of the Six Nations and there’s no better place to play.
“Ireland come into this fixture on the back of a defeat against France and so we know that they will come ready to put that right and try to defend the title. We know that it will be a real physical challenge and an almighty test for us.
“We have the momentum to build on from our first two games and have improved with both of them but we’ll be taking the game as a standalone event and are looking forward to what will be a tough challenge.”
Having kicked off their 2016 Six Nations campaign with a 0-32 win to Scotland followed by a hard fought 24-33 win to Italy, Lead Coach Scott Bemand is keen to keep building into the tournament.
Bemand said: “We have had the time to come together since Italy and work on our game. There were areas where things went well, but there were also things which we will need to improve.
“Ireland is going to present a tough challenge this weekend and there will be no margin for error. Recent history testifies that our games have been fiercely contested and as a group we are very excited to play at the Home of England Rugby where we look forward to having the support of a home crowd on Saturday.”
Fans are invited to come and watch England Women take on Ireland at Twickenham for free.
The women’s match will kick-off at 7.15pm, following conclusion of the men’s RBS 6 Nations game against Ireland, which gets underway at 4.50pm. Selected gates will be open at the end of the men’s game to allow free access to view the women’s match. For those unable to attend, the game will be broadcast live on EnglandRugby.com.
England match-day 23 to face Ireland
15. Katie Mason (Bristol, 7 caps)
14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester, 19 caps)
13. Lauren Cattell (Saracens, 15 caps)
12. Ceri Large (Worcester, 44 caps)
11. Lotte Clapp (Saracens, 4 caps)
10. Amber Reed (Bristol, 26 caps)
9. La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park, 51 caps)
1. Rochelle Clark (Worcester, 107 caps)
2. Emma Croker (Richmond, 60 caps)
3. Vickii Cornborough (Richmond, 11 caps)
4. Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park, 12 caps)
5. Emily Braund (Lichfield, 20 caps)
6. Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 28 caps)
7. Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol, 14 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter (Bristol, 75 caps)
16. Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 10 caps)
17. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park, 4 caps)
18. Bee Dawson (Wasps, 2 caps)
19. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park, 88 caps)
20. Poppy Leitch (Bristol, 1caps)
21. Bianca Blackburn (Worcester, 10 caps)
22. Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park, 14 caps)
23. Leanne Riley (Richmond, 7 caps)