Three Red Roses players nominated for Player of the Year — April 26, 2017

Three Red Roses players nominated for Player of the Year

England stars Emily Scarratt, Harriet Millar-Mills and Tamara Taylor have been nominated for the 02 England Women’s Player of the Year. The trio were integral to the Red Roses’ Six Nations campaign as they swept aside all-comers to claim their first Grand Slam title since 2012.

Scarratt scored 49 points during the campaign, including two tries, and her strong running and passing set up many more. Millar-Mills was also impressive around the park, her barnstorming runs leaving defences in shreds. Taylor, meanwhile, passed 100 caps during the tournament, and her command of the driving maul, as well as her commitment in defence, was key for the Red Roses.

All three started each of England’s Six Nations matches and are thoroughly deserving of their nominations.

The winner will be announced at the the RPA Players’ Awards on Wednesday 10 May at Battersea Evolution, London.

 

Watch the full Premiership Final match right now! — April 25, 2017
Women’s Premiership Final this Sunday! — April 20, 2017

Women’s Premiership Final this Sunday!

If you’ve been wondering when your next fix of women’s rugby is coming, fear not, for this Sunday sees the culmination of the women’s club competition in England.

The title fight is between Bristol Ladies and Aylesford Bulls, with the third-place play-off between Lichfield Ladies and Saracens kicking off beforehand.

And what’s more, entry AND parking are free, so there’s no reason not to head down on Sunday afternoon. The games are being played at Sixways Stadium in Worcester, and there will be a host of players from England’s Grand-Slam winning team on show, including Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Amber Reed (Bristol), Sarah Hunter (Bristol) and Amy Cokayne (Bristol).

But if you can’t make it in person, you can watch the match live on the England Facebook page.

These games mark the end of the final season of the Women’s Premiership, before the new Women’s Super Rugby league kicks off in September.

Venue: Sixways Stadium, Worcester

Kick-off – Sunday 23rd April:
Third place play-off: Lichfield v Saracens – 1pm 
Grand final: Bristol v Aylesford Bulls – 3pm

Red Roses win the Grand Slam! — March 21, 2017

Red Roses win the Grand Slam!

 England are the Grand Slam champions after beating fellow contenders Ireland 34 – 7 in Dublin. 

As the game kicked off, it was clear that the weather would be a significant factor in the outcome. It was wet and very windy, making the ball very greasy and hampering kicking.

England started well, with plenty of territory and possession in Ireland’s half, but the home team’s defence was strong and kept the Red Roses scoreless until the sixteenth minute. Some excellent carries from prop Rocky Clarke got England up to the Irish five-metre line, before the ball was whipped out wide to Emily Scarratt. She spotted the narrow Irish defence and threw a lovely long pass out to winger Wilson Hardy, who dotted down in the corner unchallenged. Although Scarratt missed the conversion, England finally had some points on the board for all their pressure.

However, the Irish came back strongly and really tested England’s defence. Only a fantastic Marlie Packer tackle stopped centre Sene Naoupu going in for a try under the posts, and the half ended with England leading by just 5 points to 0.

Ireland had the wind at their backs in the second half, but it was the Red Roses who struck first. Although camped in the Irish 22, they couldn’t break through the hosts’ strong defence until Sarah Hunter ran a lovely line to get within four metres of the try line. With quick ball, Marlie Packer charged forward and was only stopped from scoring by a fantastic cover tackle. The Irish defence were scrambling now, and prop Keates picked the ball up from the back of the ruck and dived over to score England’s second try.

Things went from bad to worse for the Irish, as replacement full back Mairead Coyne was judged to have deliberately knocked the ball on and was yellow-carded. Scarratt had made a break into the Irish 22 and tried to pass to Waterman, but Coyne got a hand to the ball, putting an end to an almost-certain try. Scarratt knocked over the resultant penalty, making the score 13 – 0.

England made the most of their advantage, prop Justine Lucas doing well to catch a poor Irish kick and offloading to Poppy Cleall, who in turn offloaded to hooker Amy Cokayne. She showed great pace to score from the halfway line, and the Red Roses were looking good for the Grand Slam.

However, from the resultant kick-off, England tried to run the ball out of their 22. Ireland turned it over at the ruck and some strong carries from the forwards and centre Jenny Murphy led to hooker Leah Lyons going over for the try. Winger Tyrrell added the extras and Ireland were in with a chance.

That was extinguished just four minutes later when Danielle Waterman fielded a kick and beat two defenders, before offloading to replacement scrum-half Bianca Blackburn. She passed back inside to Kay Wilson, who in turn offloaded to Emily Scarratt, who sprinted through a splintered defence to score the bonus-point try. She converted her score and England were suddenly 20 points ahead.

With seven minutes to go, the Red Roses secured their Grand Slam with another try, winger Lydia Thompson receiving a lovely flat pass from Scarratt and beating her opposite number on the outside. With one to beat and Waterman inside her, Thompson dummied and sprinted in under the posts. Scarratt converted, and when the final whistle blew a few minutes later, England were confirmed as the Grand Slam champions.

POTM: Again, lots of candidates. Substitutes Vicky Fleetwood and Bianca Blackburn performed well, Blackburn in particular upping the pace and getting England moving forward with her quick play at the rucks. However, Emily Scarratt was once again involved in everything good for the Red Roses, her passing out wide the source of a couple of tries and her running game again prominent. She missed a few kicks, but the weather didn’t do her any favours, and she scored a try to make up for it.

England 34 (5)
Tries: Wilson Hardy, Keates, Cokayne, Scarratt, Thompson Cons: Scarratt (3) Pen: Scarratt

Ireland 7 (0)
Tries: Lyons Cons: Tyrrell

Watch the full match here!

Analysis

This was always going to be an extremely tough match, and with the weather conditions adding extra difficulty, the Red Roses did extremely well to come away with such a resounding win.

While they struggled to score in the first half despite all their territory, the Irish defence held out well and refused to give them easy metres. Additionally, they were ferociously competitive at the rucks and their line speed was excellent, shutting England’s backs down before they could get the ball into the wide channels where they are so dangerous. The fact that the Red Roses led by only five points at half time is a credit to the Irish defence.

The second half was a different story, though, as England moved through the gears to score four tries. The Irish seemed to drop off in defence somewhat, missing tackles and failing to compete at the rucks. Perhaps this was due to fatigue, but it allowed England to up the pace and catch the defence off guard. They really exposed Ireland’s right hand side, scoring three tries down that flank.

In the last ten minutes or so, it was clear that England were getting into their groove, the offloading and support play which has been a feature of their game over the championship leaving the Irish defence chasing shadows. They excel at supporting the runner and their handling was again top notch on a wet night.

They also managed to overcome their traditional drop-off in performance mid-way through the second half, as they instead seemed to up the intensity and put the game beyond doubt, scoring three tries between 50 and 70 minutes.

In terms of individual performances, unfortunately fly-half Emily Scott didn’t have the greatest of games and was substituted at half time. She is a deadly runner with pace to burn, but with the conditions as they were, a more pragmatic, cautious player at ten was needed. It’s a shame, as she is a fine player, but when Amber Reed stepped into fly-half in the second half, England looked more organised and controlled. With Katy McLean coming back into the side for the June series in New Zealand, Scott will probably play from the bench which may suit her better as she will be able to use her running game against tired defences.

One who impressed was captain and Number 8 Sarah Hunter. She’s a grafter, getting through an enormous amount of work at the breakdown and tackling, and Friday night’s performance was no different. She tackled any Irish attacker that came anywhere near her, and was a constant menace at the breakdown, slowing the Irish ball down and giving England’s defence a split-second more to get organised. She was also the catalyst for Lucas’ try, picking a beautiful line that put the Irish defence on the back foot.

Substitute scrum-half Bianca Blackburn also impressed. She’s a live-wire and her speed of service at the ruck helped England to start breaking down the strong Irish defence in the second half.

In terms of the English defence, it did well to keep Ireland out for the majority of the game. The Irish attack is fearsome on its day, and their forward pack is full of big, strong, abrasive runners. That they made metres through pick and drives is no real surprise, and England generally dealt well with them. They also neutralised the Irish centre partnership of Naoupu and Murphy, who were probably Ireland’s best players on the night.

So, the Red Roses are Grand Slam champions, the best women’s team in Europe. They’ve done what they set out to do at the beginning of the tournament and have played some great rugby along the way. They should be full of confidence as they look ahead to the challenges to come – a tour to New Zealand to play the Black Ferns, Canada and Australia in June, before a return to Ireland in August for the World Cup. While some undoubtedly tough tests lie ahead, for the next few days at least, England can savour their well-deserved Grand Slam triumph.

Ireland v England Preview — March 16, 2017

Ireland v England Preview

So this is it, the final game of the Red Roses’ Six Nations campaign. They’ve had a good tournament so far, with resounding wins against Scotland and Wales, while their second-half comeback to beat France in the opening week showed resilience. Only against Italy did they look at all uncomfortable, but they still managed to score nearly twice as many points as their opponents.

So with four wins from four, England go into the final game with the Grand Slam in their sights. However, their opponents are also seeking a Grand Slam, and they will be a tough test. Playing the Irish is never easy, and playing them in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day will surely test the Red Roses’ mettle.

However, England have an experienced squad with World Cup-winning players aplenty, so they shouldn’t be phased by the occasion. They’ve also been playing some great rugby over the past few weeks, culminating in last week’s win against Scotland. They will need to show the same accuracy in their passing, urgency at the ruck and co-operation at the set piece to overcome this Ireland team.

The rolling maul has been a thing of beauty and has resulted in plenty of tries for the Red Roses. How Ireland deal with this will have a large impact on the game, as if they’re able to nullify it, England will have to find other ways of getting across the gain-line and sucking in forwards.

Another area in which England excel is in the back-line. In centres Emily Scarratt and Amber Reed, and full-back Danielle Waterman, the Red Roses have world-class players and their ability to create tries out wide will be crucial. Additionally, England’s wingers are no strangers to the try line, both having crossed numerous times already during the tournament. The Red Roses are very good at stretching the defence and creating overlaps out wide, and Ireland will have to drift well to stop them.

However, one thing that has let England down is their performance between 50-70 minutes. In the games against Wales, Italy and Scotland, there was a definite dip in performance midway through the second half, where they lost the fluidity of their attack and let simple errors such as knock-ons creep into their game. These blunders also led to the opposition enjoying more territory and possession, and in all three games, this was the period in which England’s try line was most threatened.

This period of lessened intensity can partly be put down to substitutions, which have often rejigged the back-line. However, against Ireland, they cannot afford to let themselves drop off, as the Irish are sure to punish them, and with the quality they have in their team it could be the difference between winning or losing.

Furthermore, the Red Roses’ defence has not really been tested since the first half of the opening match against France, and there is no doubting that Ireland will be a fierce challenge. England will have to be switched on and hit hard, but in back rowers Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer, and substitute Vicky Fleetwood, they have three excellent poachers who will be key to disrupting Irish ball.

Ireland have a great poacher of their own in flanker Claire Molloy, and in the back-line, their centres Jenny Murphy and Sene Naoupu have been forging a great partnership. However, the Irish haven’t exactly fired on all cylinders so far. They just edged out Scotland with a last-minute try and won close games against France and Wales, but they battle hard right to the end of matches and their fitness is obviously good. They will also want to impress the home crowd ahead of the World Cup, which kicks off in Dublin in August.

The last time the two sides met in the Autumn, the Red Roses won 12 – 10, a McLean conversion the difference. If Ireland turn up, it will be a similarly close match, and with  the Grand Slam on the line for both sides, it’s sure to be a fantastic spectacle.

Match Info

Kick off: Friday 17th March @ 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin

How to watch: Live on englandrugby.com, Sky Sports Mix and RTE

Other Fixtures

Scotland v Italy – Friday 17th March at Broadwood Stadium – KO 18:20 GMT – Live on Eurosport IT

France v Wales – Saturday 18th March at Stade Amédée Domenech, Brive – KO 21:00 local (20:00 GMT) – Live on France 4

England name team for Grand Slam decider against Ireland — March 15, 2017

England name team for Grand Slam decider against Ireland

England have made two changes to the team which beat Scotland last weekend as they travel to Ireland for the final game of their Six Nations campaign.

Winger Amy Wilson Hardy returns to the starting line-up, replacing Lydia Thompson, who moves to the bench. Kay Wilson, who scored seven tries last weekend, retains her spot on the other wing, as La Toya Mason and Emily Scott continue their partnership at scrum-half and fly-half. On the bench, prop Laura Keates replaces Sarah Bern, while captain Sarah Hunter is set to win her 90th cap.

Both Ireland the Red Roses are looking to complete the Grand Slam on Friday evening, and the Irish will be a very tough test for this England squad.

“Ireland have had a great competition so far, showing immense resilience to win four tough games. It promises to be a fantastic end to the tournament and we are confident that come Friday we will be as ready as we can to win our first Grand Slam in five years.” said head coach Simon Middleton.

The game is available to watch live on Sky Sports Mix and englandrugby.com.

Red Roses Team to play Ireland (Friday 17th March @ 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin)

15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol, 67 caps)
14 Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol, 6 caps)
13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, 65 caps)
12 Amber Reed (Bristol, 36 caps)
11 Kay Wilson (Richmond, 41 caps)
10 Emily Scott (Saracens, 20 caps)
9 La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 63 caps)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries, 121 caps)
2 Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 24 caps)
3 Justine Lucas (Lichfield, 18 caps)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 102 caps)
5 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 42 caps)
6 Alex Matthews (Richmond, 28 caps)
7 Marlie Packer (Bristol, 44 caps)
8 Sarah Hunter (Bristol, 89 caps) (c)

Replacements:

16 Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 58 caps)
17 Vickii Cornborough (Aylesford Bulls, 22 caps)
18 Laura Keates (Worcester Valkyries, 59 caps)
19 Poppy Cleall (Bristol, 11 caps), 20 Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol, 28 caps)
21 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester Valkyries, 17 caps)
22 Rachael Burford (Aylesford Bulls, 64 caps)
23 Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries, 30 caps)

England score twelve tries against lucklustre Scotland — March 14, 2017

England score twelve tries against lucklustre Scotland

The Red Roses were in fine form on Saturday afternoon as they scored a dozen tries, including seven for wing Kay Wilson, against a Scottish side who didn’t register any points.

England got off to a great start, scoring their first try after just three minutes when full-back Danielle Waterman broke the line and a couple of phases later, the ball was spun out wide to Wilson, who dotted down in the corner.

And they scored their second in a very similar fashion, a poor kick from Scotland fielded well by Waterman, who used some nice footwork to break the line again. England got quick ball and passed out wide to lock Harriet Millar-Mills, who made good metres before passing to Wilson. She sped past Scottish full-back Rollie to score her second.

Scotland were nothing if not inventive, using the same ‘tackle only’ technique that the Italian men’s team had employed against England two weeks ago. However, the Red Roses dealt with it well, scrum half Mason composed over the ball, willing to throw passes over loitering Scots’ heads and out to the back-line.

A strong English maul made twenty metres before being hauled down illegally, resulting in a yellow card for Scottish Number 8 Forsyth. From the resulting 5 metre line-out, the Red Roses set up another maul and crashed over, hooker Amy Cokayne coming up with the ball. Emily Scarratt, who was having a tough day with the boot, missed the conversion, but the Red Roses were 15 – 0 up after only 11 minutes.

The Scots weren’t getting much possession, but they also put themselves under pressure when they did have the ball and lost it forwards a couple of times. The English scrum was well on top, partly due to the Scottish scrum being reduced to seven after Forsyth’s yellow card, and Number 8 Sarah Hunter was able to make some good metres off the base and get England onto the front foot.

Another English line-out on the Scottish 5 metre line resulted in their fourth try, another score from a driving maul. There was some controversy initially, as the touch judge ruled that the ball had been held up, but the TMO confirmed that Cokayne had scored and the Red Roses had their bonus point wrapped up after only twenty minutes.

Another Scottish knock-on in their own 22 handed possession back to the Red Roses, who got the ball out to centre Emily Scarratt. She ran a nice hard line, powering her way through a couple of tackles, and was brought down just three metres away from the line. Quick recycling at the ruck saw the ball passed out to the short side and Scarratt put in a lovely flat pass to Waterman, who dived over for England’s fifth try. Scarratt, yet to make a kick in the game, missed the conversions from out wide, but England’s lead was now 25 – 0.

Scotland were really struggling to get any kind of foothold in the game, and when the restart was kicked out on the full, England again punished them. Some lovely offloading from Emily Scott, Sarah Hunter and Wilson saw the Red Roses advance up the pitch at a rate of knots, and with the Scottish defence still trying to catch up, flanker Alex Matthews ran hard, making good metres. The ball came out to centre Amber Reed, who had the vision and the skill to float a beautiful wide pass out to Wilson on the left, who sprinted in to score her hat-trick try.

Five minutes later, Reed threw another gorgeous pass out wide to Scarratt, who popped the ball out to Wilson, who scored her fourth try. England’s lead was now 35 – 0, with seven minutes of the first half still to play.

Scotland really weren’t helping themselves, and as another kick-off failed to go ten metres, they handed back possession once again. However, a few minutes later they got their first real opportunity to attack – breaks from flanker McMillan and then fly half Nelson, who handed off Millar-Mills before getting the ball away to Thomson, who sprinted down the sideline. She was hauled down just a few metres short of the line by the English wingers, who subsequently won the penalty for holding on.

As the half drew to a close, Scotland found themselves pinned in their own 22, the English defence pressuring them. Nelson tried to get a clearing kick away, but it was charged down by Cokayne, who scooped up the bouncing ball and fell over the line for her hat-trick try. The Red Roses had scored at a point a minute in the first half, leading 40 – 0.

The second half continued in much the same way, as another pass from Reed beat the Scottish defender marking Scarratt, who was able to make an outside break. She passed to Wilson, who scored her fifth try and England’s ninth.

Scotland managed to build a few phases and won a penalty just inside the Red Roses’ half. From the resulting line-out, fly half Nelson dribbled a kick through into the try area and Rollie just beat replacement full-back McKenna to the ball. However, the TMO judged that she didn’t manage to get the ball down, and Scotland were denied their first score.

However, they didn’t give up, pounding England’s line with pick and drives. The Red Roses’ defence managed to stay strong, though, and Scotland lost their opportunity when they knocked on and were then penalised for being offside, allowing England to clear their lines.

Again, the Red Roses’ rolling maul was used to good effect, driving the Scots back. Some lovely breaks by second rows Tamara Taylor and Harriet Millar-Mills led England once more into the Scottish 22, before the ball was whipped away to Scarratt and then Wilson, who crossed for her sixth. Scarratt again missed the conversion, but England led 50 – 0.

England were playing well, some lovely running from replacement hooker Vicky Fleetwood, who handed off four players on one run, and Wilson, but errors were starting to creep into their game and the clinical finishing which served them well in the first half was somewhat missing. Handling errors began to take their toll, and Scotland were beginning to sense some weakness in their opponents.

After failing to score for nearly twenty minutes, England got their hands on the ball after a steal at the line-out. Reed delayed the pass to Matthews, who in turn offloaded to Emily Scarratt. She stepped the defence to score, and managed to land her first conversion of the day, making the score 57 – 0.

With less than two minutes remaining, England suddenly came to life, playing some fantastic, skilled rugby. Accurate passing and quick ball from the rucks saw Kay Wilson go over for her seventh try, a record in the Six Nations. Scarratt converted, making the final score 64 – 0 and setting up a Grand Slam-decider against Ireland next week.

POTM: Plenty to choose from in the England team. Both second rows Taylor and Millar-Mills had fine games, as did Kay Wilson, who scored over half of England’s twelve tries. However, centre Amber Reed was the unsung hero of the back-line, her lovely passing and vision key to a number of tries. She also stepped into fly-half well, her kicking game winning valuable territory and settling England down in the second half when Scotland were looking to attack.

England: 64 (40)
Tries: Wilson (7), Cokayne (3), Waterman, Scarratt Cons: Scarratt 2

Scotland: o (0)

Analysis

Another fine performance from England, another clean sheet. They will surely be happy with their game after a relatively poor performance against Italy two weeks ago.

The sheer speed and intensity of their game was brilliant, with great support play and timely offloads putting the Scottish defence on the back foot. Scrum half La Toya Mason had a much better game this week, her passing crisp and clean and her service quick, thanks in part to the excellent work of the forwards at clearing out the rucks and creating quick ball.

Another who had a much-improved game was fly-half Emily Scott. She looked more confident, and ran the ball more, getting through half-gaps and keeping the Scottish defence from sliding across. However, she still made a few mistakes, going for offloads when it would have been better to go to ground, but she should gain confidence from her performance ahead of next week’s clash with Ireland.

The set piece also went very well, England’s scrum dominant and rock solid, allowing Sarah Hunter to make lots of metres off the back. The line-out has also improved week-on-week, and on Saturday impressed again, particularly defensively; the Red Roses managed to steal a few Scottish balls and disrupt their possession.

The maul, which has been England’s lethal weapon for the past few games, again earned them a couple of tries, but it was dealt with quite well by Scotland overall. Still, it is certainly something Ireland will have to nullify if they want to beat England next week.

The only thing that should worry the Red Roses is the drop in performance midway through the second half. Although this was partly down to replacements coming on and the back-line being rejigged, against top teams they will be punished if they allow themselves to sit back for any period of time. However, they recovered well and, by scoring two late tries, proved their fitness and desire.

Of the replacements, scrum-half Bianca Blackburn impressed, upping the pace and keeping the tired Scottish defence guessing around the ruck. Fleetwood ran hard and was a livewire, handing off defenders left, right and centre.

The Red Roses’ defence wasn’t really tested for any length of time, but it is sure to be next weekend against an Ireland team looking to complete a Grand Slam. England will hope that it stands up to the pressure and will no doubt be working on it in training this week.

For Scotland, after their euphoric win against Wales, this was a comedown to earth. They will want to improve their kick-offs, as too many times they simply handed back possession to England on the half-way line due to kicking too long or short.

However, they certainly improved and their rush defence nearly saw them intercept England’s passing on a few occasions. However, they were never really in the game and struggled to keep hold of the ball for any length of time, knocking-on too often due to impatience.

England travel to Dublin next Friday for a Grand-Slam decider against an Ireland team who haven’t exactly hit top form yet. However, it will certainly be one to watch, and the Red Roses will be hoping that they’re victorious.

England v Scotland Preview — March 10, 2017

England v Scotland Preview

It’s Week 4 of the Six Nations and the Red Roses welcome old rivals Scotland to the Twickenham Stoop. The Scots are on a real high after winning their first Six Nations game since 2010 against Wales two weeks ago, a real positive for both the team and women’s rugby. Despite going down to two early tries, they stuck with the Welsh and never gave up, scoring tries of their own and winning the match with a late penalty.

However, the loss of star Number 8 Jade Konkel, whose offload set up one of the Scottish tries two week ago, is a huge blow. She is Scotland’s only full time player and is a battering ram, their go-to runner who’s guaranteed to make metres when she gets the ball. Without her, the Scottish forwards will have to step up and push themselves if they’re to compete with England’s pack.

The Red Roses weren’t altogether convincing in their win against Italy two weeks ago, but with experienced, class players like Danielle Waterman and Amber Reed back in the starting XV, the back-line should be more fluid.

The half-back pairing of Emily Scott and La Toya Mason didn’t overly impress against the Italians, but they have been retained and it is likely that some more time together will have helped their communication. Mason’s kicking game is a good weapon to have, and while Scott is inexperienced and at times struggled to get the back-line moving against Italy, the wealth of experience around her in the likes of Emily Scarratt, Waterman and Reed will help her decision-making.

In the forwards, blindside flanker Alex Matthews is retained after a barnstorming display two weeks ago, while established lock pairing Tamara Taylor and Harriet Millar-Mills will look to continue their improved consistency at the line-out. Both were very strong against Italy, Millar-Mills’ attacking in particular a stand-out feature of the game.

After the success of the rolling maul against the Italians, the Red Roses will surely look to use it again this week. However, they will want to tighten up the rest of their game and play more clinically after a number of unforced errors blighted the game against the Italians. Discipline will also be key, as England gave away a number of penalties and received two cards in their last game, and Scotland aren’t going to pass up opportunities to keep the scoreboard ticking over with penalty kicks.

While Scotland are sure to be on a high after their win against Wales, England have too much power and organisation and should record their fourth win of the campaign.

Match Info

Kick off: Saturday 11th March @ 1pm, Twickenham Stoop

How to watch: Live on englandrugby.com. Sky Sports 3, coverage delayed until 8am on Sunday

Other Fixtures

Wales v Ireland – Saturday 11th March at Cardiff Arms Park – KO 11:30 GMT – Live on BBC Wales and RTE

Italy v France – Sunday 12th March at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi – KO 15:00 local (14:00 GMT) – Live on France 4 and Eurosport IT

England opt for experience against Scotland — March 9, 2017

England opt for experience against Scotland

England have made five changes to the team which pulled off an unconvincing win against Italy two weeks ago.

In the back three, Danielle Waterman and Lydia Thompson return to the starting side, while Amber Reed replaces Rachael Burford at inside centre. The halfback pairing of La Toya Mason and Emily Scott are given another chance to start after their display against Italy.

The starting forward pack remains the same, save for a change at prop, where Justine Lucas replaces Laura Keates, who has been rested. Vickii Cornborough comes onto the bench, looking to make her first start in this year’s Six Nations.

Again, the Red Roses have a very experienced side, although they are lacking their 83-capped fly-half Katy McLean, who will miss the remainder of the tournament after being banned for three weeks for a tackle in the game against Italy.

“We are looking forward to what we expect will be a challenging contest and hope to have strong support from a good crowd for our last home game of the championship.” said head coach Simon Middleton.

The game is available to watch on Sky Sports 3, but coverage is delayed until 8 am on Sunday 12th March. Tickets to the game are available here.

Red Roses Team to play Scotland (Saturday 11th March @ 1pm, Twickenham Stoop)

15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol, 66 caps)
14 Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries, 29 caps)
13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield, 64 caps)
12 Amber Reed (Bristol, 35 caps)
11 Kay Wilson (Richmond, 40 caps)
10 Emily Scott (Saracens, 19 caps)
9 La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 62 caps)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries, 120 caps)
2 Amy Cokayne (Lichfield, 23 caps)
3 Justine Lucas (Lichfield, 17 caps)
4 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield, 41 caps)
5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 101 caps)
6 Alex Matthews (Richmond, 27 caps)
7 Marlie Packer (Bristol, 43 caps)
8 Sarah Hunter (Bristol, 88 caps) (c).

Replacements:

16 Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens, 57 caps)
17 Vickii Cornborough (Aylesford Bulls, 21 caps)
18 Sarah Bern (Bristol, 7 caps)
19 Poppy Cleall (Bristol, 10 caps)
20 Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol, 27 caps)
21 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester Valkyries, 16 caps)
22 Rachael Burford (Aylesford Bulls, 63 caps)
23 Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 11 caps).

Red Roses to play three Tests in New Zealand to prepare for World Cup — March 1, 2017

Red Roses to play three Tests in New Zealand to prepare for World Cup

The Red Roses have announced that they will travel to New Zealand ahead of the Rugby World Cup to play three tests against Australia, Canada, and the Black Ferns. The matches take place over 8 days in June, coinciding with the men’s British and Irish Lions Tour.

The tour will be a stern test for England, as all three opponents are strong. However, a victory against Canada and a 5-point loss to New Zealand in the autumn will give them hope of a possible clean sweep. The Black Ferns will be a particularly tough test, especially as they have home advantage, but it is a fine challenge for an England team looking to retain the World Cup in August.

9 June: v Australia (Porirua Park, Wellington)

13 June: v Canada (Rugby Park, Christchurch)

17 June: v New Zealand (Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua)