30 October 2020

England’s Natasha Hunt out of Six Nations decider against Italy after positive Covid-19 test

England scrum-half Natasha Hunt has been forced to withdraw from the Red Roses’ Grand Slam decider against Italy after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Gloucester-Hartpury captain will now isolate for ten days and then take part in a seven-day return-to-play programme.

Claudia MacDonald replaces her with Leanne Riley joining the bench.

Meanwhile, Morwenna Talling will pick up her first cap and Ellie Kildunne plays for the first time since 2018.

Head coach Simon Middleton said: “While we’re understandably disappointed for Mo [Natasha Hunt], the health and safety of all players and staff members is paramount.

“The situation has been handled very well by our medical staff. All training session and training venue footage was reviewed to establish any close contacts and players were interviewed. Fortunately, no-one else needed to isolate. 

“Claudia is a fantastic replacement and the game gives her a chance to impress from the start. Earning a first cap is always a special moment. Morwenna Talling has excelled in training and club matches and we feel she thoroughly deserves her opportunity.   

“Despite a number of injuries, we have real depth to our squad."

Full squad

Starting: 15 - Ellie Kildunne, 14 -Jess Breach, 13 - Emily Scarratt, 12 - Amber Reed, 11 - Abby Dow, 10 -Katy Daley-Mclean, 9 - Claudia MacDonald

1 -Vickii Cornborough, 2 - Lark Davies, 3 - Sarah Bern, 4 - Abbie Ward, 5 - Morwenna Talling, 6 - Poppy Cleall, 7 - Marlie Packer, 8 - Sarah Beckett

Replacements: Amy Cokayne, Detysha Harper,  Shaunagh Brown, Harriet Millar-Mills, Alex Matthews, Leanne Riley, Helena Rowland, Zoe Harrison

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