• December 10, 2023

Women’s Six Nations final, England v France: Poppy Cleall to start in place of Sarah Hunter

Poppy Cleall won Player of the Game for her performance in England’s inaugural win over Scotland

Conference location: Twickenham Stoop Date: Saturday April 24th Start: 14:00 BST
Cover: Watch Live on BBC Two; Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live and follow the live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Poppy Cleall starts eighth in the English women’s six-nation final against France on Saturday and pushes captain Sarah Hunter onto the bench.

Emily Scarratt will lead the defending champions from outside the center, with Zoe Harrison making her first start in this year’s tournament at age 12.

Helena Rowland cemented her place as England’s first half of the election with a third consecutive start.

Hunter returned for England after 13 months win in Italy two weeks ago.

In addition to a thigh strain, the 35-year-old had an injury to a nerve in her neck that had left her Trouble tying her shoelaces.

But with so little playing time, Hunter struggles to compete with Cleall, who was approved by England head coach Simon Middleton one of the best players in the world after their appearance in the Red Roses win against Scotland on April 3rd.

“It was great to have Sarah Hunter back against Italy,” said Middleton of the change.

“She’s not quite at the level she wants to be and we need [to be] for this game at the moment, which is to be expected and expected after 13 months.

“Poppy has a really good all-round game. Physically she is in the best shape she’s ever had and that carried over to the field.”

England beat Scotland 52-10 and Italy 67-3 in the group stage to secure their place in the first Women’s Six Nations Final after the format of the tournament was changed following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Middleton have largely returned to the side that won the inaugural win against Scotland. Sarah McKenna is the full-back and Lark Davies is the hooker.

Abbie Ward is in the place of Zoe Aldcroft, who moves into the back row next to Marlie Packer.

Center Meg Jones and Flanker Alex Matthews have returned to the GB Sevens program and were therefore not eligible.

Supporters Detysha Harper and center Lagi Tuima are back among the substitutes when England host a French team heading for a high 53-0 win against Wales and 56-15 win in Ireland.

England’s team meets France

England: McKenna; Breach, Scarratt (Capt), Harrison, Dow; Rowland, Riley; Cornborough, Davies, Brown, Ward, O’Donnell, Aldcroft, Packer, P. Cleall.

Replacement: Cokayne, Harper, B. Cleall, Millar-Mills, Hunter, MacDonald, Tuima, Kildunne.


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