Women's Six Nations: England make seven changes for Ireland clash
Last Updated: 19/02/14 3:51pm
Head coach Gary Street makes seven changes
England Women's Head Coach Gary Street has made seven changes to the side that beat Scotland for Saturday's vital Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham.
Street has picked a new front row with Rochelle Clark, Emma Croker and Sophie Hemming all starting, while in the pack Maggie Alphonsi returns alongside Hannah Gallagher and Sarah Hunter.
Worcester's Katherine Merchant and Bristol's Kay Wilson form a new wing partnership and Lichfield's Natasha Hunt returns at scrum-half.
Street said: "It has been a tough selection this week but I think the quality of our bench shows the depth we have in this squad.
"We've had good week training and the players are feeling really positive and excited about playing against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday."
The game is a must-win match for Steet's side against the defending Six Nations Grand Slam champions who thrashed England 25-0 last year.
Phillip Doyle's side head to Twickenham in search of the Triple Crown while England know they have to win to keep any hopes alive of taking back the Six Nations crown following their 18-6 defeat to France earlier this month.
"This is obviously a big game," said Street. "With our defeat last season to Ireland, playing at Twickenham and knowing we must win, this is a big match. That said, at the same time, for us every game is a big game all the way through to the Rugby World Cup in August now as this is our target.
"Ireland have a strong all round game with some powerful forwards and pace in their backs whilst we've learned a lot from our defeat to France and we are feeling ready for this. I think this will be a great expansive game of rugby for the Twickenham crowd to enjoy."
Ireland Head Coach Doyle has made two changes to the side that earned a hard fought victory against Wales.
Ashleigh Baxter comes in on the wing for Hannah Casey and Gillian Bourke replaces Stacey-Lea Kennedy at hooker. Both Casey and Kennedy will start from the bench. The only other change to the match day 23 sees Laura Guest come into the replacements in place of Paula Fitzpatrick.
England team: Scarratt, Merchant, Reed, Burford, Wilson, Mclean, Hunt, Clark, Croker, Hemming, Essex, McGilchrist, Gallagher, lphonsi, Hunter.
Replacements: Fleetwood, Keates, Acheson, Taylor, Packer, Mason, Large, Thompson.
Ireland team: Briggs, Baxter, Cantwell, Murphy, Miller, Stapleton, Muldoon, O' Brien, Molloy, Fleming, Reilly, Spence, Egan, Bourke, Coghlan.
Replacements: Lea, Kennedy, Hayes, Guest, Davis, Casey, Davitt, Shiels.