Opportunities for former Welwyn players as England name Women's Six Nations squad

Welwyn Rugby Club's Zoe Harrison in action for England

England head coach says the 2021 Women's Six Nations is the time for Zoe Harrison to shine. - Credit: ADAM DAVY/PA

Hertfordshire is well-represented in the 38-player England squad named for the Women’s Six Nations.

Welwyn supply four former players, with Datchworth also responsible for one of them, in the shape of Zoe Harrison, Helena Rowland, Ellena Perry and Hannah Botterman.

The last two are back in the squad after missing the autumn internationals through injury, something that is also true of Harpenden's Sarah McKenna and England captain Sarah Hunter.

The group also includes six development players.

Front rowers Maud Muir and Flo Long, plus backs Ellie Green, Merryn Doidge, Beth Wilcock and Flo Robinson have been part of Red Roses training squads since the new year and have impressed in the current Premier 15s season.

They are joined by Flo’s sister Emily Robinson who makes her first senior squad.

Head coach Simon Middleton says the games are a great chance for the Welwyn duo of Rowland and Harrison to stake a regular claim on the number 10 jersey.

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He said: “This will be our first internationals since Katy Daley-Mclean’s retirement and it’ll be great to see how our young fly-halves, Zoe Harrison and Helena Rowland steer the ship.

"We’ll have some new half back combinations and it will be interesting to see how they go.

"From a performance point of view we’ve been training really hard for a few months now. We have a lot of evidence from training to say we’ve raised our intensity and physicality whilst at the same time developing our ability to execute accurately and make good decisions under the pressure.

"That’s what we want to see when we go into the Scotland game. We want a high tempo, high energy game with quality play off the back of it.

"It feels like we’ve been training for a long time and I think the staff are as desperate for the games as the players are.

"The players play week-in, week-out with the clubs but as a staff group we don’t get that release so it feels like we’ve been preparing forever."

All 38 players are part of the Six Nations tournament testing protocols which means they can train with the group and are eligible to feature in matchday squads if selected.

England have carried out individual risk assessments with players to allow them to work or play for their clubs outside of England camps with further measures put in place to protect the training bubble.

Their first game in an adapted tournament sees them take on Scotland at Castle Park in Doncaster on Saturday. They follow that with a trip to Italy on April 10.

The tournament is split in two this year and England's final game will be at home to the team finishing in the same position as them in the other group.

There will be one more match after that as the Red Roses go to France for a friendly on April 30.

England squad for the 2020-2021 Women's Six Nations:
Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 20 caps)
Sarah Beckett (Harlequins Women, 20 caps)
Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women, 20 caps)
Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women, 20 caps)
Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women, 1 cap)
Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 43 caps)
Amy Cokayne (Harlequins Women, 53 caps)
Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Women, 56 caps)
Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 28 caps)
Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women, 76 caps)
Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
Sarah Hunter (C; Loughborough Lightning 123 caps)
Flo Long (Worcester Warriors Women, 0 caps)*
Alex Matthews (Worcester Warriors Women, 40 caps)
Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies, 58 caps)
Maud Muir (Wasps FC Ladies, 0 caps)*
Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 16 caps)
Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 74 caps)
Ellena Perry (Gloucester-Hartpury, 10 caps)
Emily Robinson (Harlequins Women, 0 caps)
Abbie Ward (Harlequins Women, 45 caps)
Jess Breach (Harlequins Women, 15 caps)
Merryn Doidge (Exeter Chiefs Women, 0 caps)*
Abby Dow (Wasps FC Ladies, 15 caps)
Ellie Green (Harlequins Women, 0 caps)*
Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 27 caps)
Megan Jones (Wasps FC Ladies, 10 caps)
Ellie Kildunne (Wasps FC Ladies, 11 caps)
Claudia MacDonald (Wasps FC Ladies, 12 caps)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 32 caps)
Amber Reed (Bristol Bears Women, 58 caps)
Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women, 40 caps)
Flo Robinson (Exeter Chiefs, 0 caps)*
Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
Emily Scarratt (VC; Loughborough Lighting, 92 caps)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors, 46 caps)
Lagi Tuima (Harlequins Women, 6 caps)
Beth Wilcock (Harlequins Women, 0 caps)*

*Denotes development players

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