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Women’s Rugby World Cup: England make 10 changes for Italy game

Scarratt was a replacement against Spain but will captain England against Italy
England v Italy
Venue: Dublin Date: Sunday, 13 August Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Sport website

England head coach Simon Middleton has made 10 changes for the World Cup match with Italy on Sunday.

As promised he includes all the players that missed out on their opening victory over Spain, including 2014 world champions Tamara Taylor, Marlie Packer and Natasha Hunt.

Emily Scarratt captains England from outside centre with regular captain Sarah Hunter starting from the bench.

“Our aim is to continually build and improve,” said Middleton.

“The team have recovered well and have been working hard over the past two days to ensure we are fully prepared for the next challenge.”

The head coach also confirmed that hooker Vicky Fleetwood has now joined up with the squad after completing her rehabilitation for a knee ligament injury.

“Vicky landed today so she’s joined the squad and looking in good shape,” he said.

“We won’t start her [against the USA] unless we have a hooker disaster in the Italy game.”

Middleton confirmed that prop Sarah Bern suffered a sprained ankle in the match with Spain and that although Poppy Cleall has been named as a lock among the replacements, she can also cover tight-head from the bench.

The Red Roses have accepted that the coaches will rotate the squad in the pool stages to keep players fresh ahead of the knock-outs, although Middleton said some just want to play.

“You can only imagine how painful the last few days have been for Marlie Packer for instance,” he said.

“Marlie would just play every minute of every game if you let her. She’s been like a bear with a sore head because she’s just desperate to get on the field and that’s what you want from your players.”

After a player of the match performance against Spain, Katy Mclean drops to the bench as Amber Reed starts at fly-half.

The Bristol back said that Mclean was one of the first people to congratulate her when the selection was announced.

“I’ve definitely got big shoes to fill. Katy had a phenomenal game against Spain but I think that the message that the coaching staff have given us all year is, ‘we want strength in depth in the squad’ and that comes with competition,” said Reed.

“We’ve got two or three players per shirt who can step up and we have confidence they will do the Red Roses justice.”

England: Danielle Waterman (Bristol); Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies), Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol); Amber Reed (Bristol), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield); Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries), Amy Cokayne (Lichfield), Justine Lucas (Lichfield), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Zoe Aldcroft (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol), Marlie Packer (Bristol), Alex Matthews (Richmond)

Replacements: Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies), Poppy Cleall (Bristol), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Sarah Hunter (Bristol), La Toya Mason (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Megan Jones (Bristol)

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