England go for Helelna Rowland as team to start Six Nations is announced

England head coach Simon Middleton

England head coach Simon Middleton has opted for Helena Rowland at fly-half in the Six Nations game against Scotland. - Credit: MIKE EGERTON/PA

Helena Rowland has been given the nod over former Welwyn club-mate Zoe Harrison as England prepare to open their Women's Six Nations matches against Scotland.

The pair were both in the frame to take on the number 10 jersey vacated by the now-retired Katy Daley-McLean but it is the Loughborough Lightning player who will have the first chance to shine.

Harrison misses out altogether as does the remaining two with links to the Hobbs Way-based club, Hannah Botterman and Ellena Perry.

England's Sarah McKenna celebrates scoring a try

Harpenden's Sarah McKenna scored against Ireland on England's last visit to Castle Park, Doncaster, in February 2020. - Credit: MIKE EGERTON/PA

Head coach Simon Middleton has named Harpenden's Sarah McKenna though, the Old Albanian coach taking her place at full-back after missing the autumn internationals through injury.

She is one of a number recalled to the side after spells on the treatment table, Zoe Aldcroft, Cath O’Donnell and Lydia Thompson, among them, while Bryony Cleall will get her second cap in the Castle Park, Doncaster, clash.

Middleton said: “It’s great to have Bryony back in the frame. It’s over two years since her debut and she’s been really unfortunate with injuries, however she’s continued to work hard on her rehab and return to play programme and deserves her opportunity.

“Similarly, Cath O’Donnell has been out for a long time. Cath brings a physicality and a go forward quality you need in international rugby and it’s great to see her back on the field.

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“We’ve had a high quality week preparing in Doncaster and we are as ready as we can possibly be at this point to play.

“Games against Scotland are always special occasions and this one will be no different.”
England team

15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 32 caps)
14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors, 46 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (capt; Loughborough Lightning, 92 caps)
12. Lagi Tuima (Harlequins Women, 6 caps)
11. Jess Breach (Harlequins Women, 15 caps)
10. Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Women, 40 caps)
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Women 56 caps)
2. Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning, 28 caps)
3. Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women, 1 cap)
4. Abbie Ward (Harlequins Women 45 caps)
5. Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 16 caps)
6. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester Hartpury Women, 20 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 74 caps)
8. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 43 caps)

16. Amy Cokayne (Harlequins Women, 53 caps)
17. Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Women, 20 caps)
19. Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps FC Ladies, 58 caps)
20. Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens Women, 76 caps)
21. Claudia MacDonald (Wasps FC Ladies, 12 caps)
22. Megan Jones (Wasps FC Ladies, 10 caps)
23. Ellie Kildunne (Wasps FC Ladies, 11 caps)

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