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Women's Six Nations: England centre Emily Scarratt returns against France on Saturday

Last Updated: 28/01/14 1:51pm

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England centre Emily Scarratt returns against France

England centre Emily Scarratt returns against France

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England Women's head coach Gary Street has named Emily Scarratt in his team for Saturday's Six Nations opener against France.

Lichfield centre Scarratt returns along with Worcester's Katherine Merchant after the pair missed the autumn international series against France and Canada due to injury.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks fly-half Katy Mclean will captain a strong and experienced team that will be looking to bounce back after last year's disappointing third place finish in the championship.

Forward Sarah Hunter, who has been named as vice-captain, teams up with flankers Margaret Alphonsi and Marlie Packer, while Lichfield's Natasha Hunt will be at scrum-half.

Street said: "Barring injuries this is the strongest team I could pick for our opening fixture in the Six Nations. That is exactly what we need for this exciting but also very significant fixture as we play the host nation of this year's Rugby World Cup.

"I certainly think this fixture could set the tone for this season and I am sure

France will be thinking exactly the same.

Real buzz

"We have had some excellent preparation for this fixture.Coming into camp a whole week before the game has not happened before and we have found it invaluable. There is a real buzz in the squad and the players can't wait to get started."

"We have had some excellent preparation for this fixture.Coming into camp a whole week before the game has not happened before and we have found it invaluable. There is a real buzz in the squad and the players can't wait to get started."
Gary Street

France contributed to England's fall from the top spot in last year's Six Nations when they inflicted a first ever defeat on England at Twickenham Stadium with a 30-20 victory.

But 12 months on and England have regrouped and head into this year's Six Nations with two wins - over France and Canada - under their belts from the autumn internationals.

Street added: "We have made no secret of the fact that our goal is to win all our games this year and we are hoping Saturday's game is going to be the start of an exciting ride.

"There, however, can be no room for complacency if we want to achieve this and the entire squad knows this."

England: Wilson, Merchant, Scarratt, Burford, Staniford, Mclean, Hunt, Clark, Croker, Hemming, Taylor, Braund, Packer, Alphonsi, Hunter.

Replacements: Fleetwood, Purdy, Keates, Gallagher, Essex, Mason, Large, Reed.

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