21 February 2020

Leanne Riley starts for England as head coach Simon Middleton names his squad for Six Nations clash

Harlequins scrum-half Leanne Riley will start for England in their Six Nations clash with Ireland this weekend.

Riley was left out of the squad for their victory over Scotland in the last round but has pushed Natasha Hunt onto the bench.

Player of the Match in Murrayfield, Emily Scott, is on the bench and is replaced by Saracens full-back Sarah McKenna.

Hannah Botterman has been ruled out of the match with a calf injury and so uncapped Loughborough Lightning star Detysha Harper comes in on the bench.

Katy Daley-McLean will also start the match which is being held at a sold-out Castle Park in Doncaster.

Head coach Simon Middleton said England are 'lucky' to have such depth in their squad. 

"Our strength-in-depth and competition for places has seen us make a few changes.

"We've brought Katy [Daley-McLean] back in for this game as her ability to marshal the troops and manage the side around the field will be essential in such a high-pressure game.

"Leanne Riley returns as we rotated the squad from last week. Mo Hunt went well for us in Scotland as did Claudia MacDonald, who I thought had her best performance in an England shirt coming on as a finisher.

"We are lucky to have three such outstanding scrum-halves and it's crucial we keep them all ticking over, hence the changes for this week."

Starting 15: Sarah McKenna, Abby Dow, Emily Scarratt, Amber Reed, Jess Breach, Katy Daley-McLean, Leanne Riley, Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Poppy Cleall, Zoe Aldcroft, Sarah Beckett, Vicky Fleetwood, Sarah Hunter.

Replacements: Amy Cokayne, Detysha Harper, Shanaugh Brown, Harriet Millar-Mills, Amy Harper, Natasha Hunt, Harrison, Emily Scott.

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