Women's Six Nations: England boss Gary Street rings changes for final match in Italy

Last Updated: 12/03/14 2:26pm

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Maggie Alphonsi: Keeps starting role for the trip to Italy.

Maggie Alphonsi: Keeps starting role for the trip to Italy.

Sky Bet

England women's head coach Gary Street has made 11 changes ahead of Sunday's final Six Nations match against Italy.

Street's side must hope that Ireland defeat France on Friday night to keep alive their hopes of regaining the Six Nations crown as they target victory at the Stadio Giulio e Silvio Pagani in Rovato.

A raft of changes have been made to the line-up, including four positional, with only wing Katherine Merchant, prop Rochelle Clark, lock Tamara Taylor and flanker Maggie Alphonsi retaining their starting roles.

Emily Scarratt, player of the match against Ireland and Wales, moves from full-back to outside-centre with Amber Reed switching to inside-centre, while Sarah Hunter moves to flanker and Rebecca Essex is named in the backrow at Number 8.

Skipper Katy Mclean starts on the bench, meaning Ceri Large comes in at fly-half and Hunter takes over the captaincy.

Full-back Danielle Waterman starts her first XVs game in 16 months, with Richmond wing Natasha Brennan receiving her first start for England after making her debut off the bench in Friday's 35-3 win over Wales.

On the bench Mercedes Foy, Claire Purdy, Georgina Gulliver and Lydia Thompson have all been recalled to the squad ahead of England's final match before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in France in August.

Street said: "Having such depth of quality players in our squad does make it a challenge to keep consistency but as this is our last game before the RWC we have got to give players game time. We have not weakened the squad at all but given it a fresh boost before our last game of the Six Nations.

"It's great to have a fully fit Danielle Waterman back in the squad who I hope can add something different to the team, whilst Natasha Brennan very much impressed on her debut last week and it is vital we see more of her.

"Katy Mclean has been outstanding as captain and at fly-half this season but we have a very able back-up in Ceri Large at 10 who also needs to get some more game time under her belt."

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