Davies to start for England in Dublin

Valkyries captain Lark Davies will start for England Women in their opening match of this season’s Six Nations against Ireland at Donnybrook on Friday (kick-off 5.00pm).

Hooker Davies will win her 14th England cap in Dublin but it will be only her second Six Nations start after a first against Italy 12 months ago.

Davies started against USA and Canada in the Autumn Internationals and will join Bristol Bears tighthead Sarah Bern who will make her first international appearance since last year’s Six Nations.

England Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “We are looking forward to getting our Six Nations campaign underway and implementing some of the things we have been working on since the Quilter Internationals.

“It is great to have a number of players back in the squad from the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, as well those newer names who have impressed through the season so far.

“This first game has come a week too soon for a couple of players but this gives us an opportunity to test others, and there were some tough calls over positions. Selection has been based on recent form.

“We know that conditions are likely to be testing in Dublin on Friday but we are looking forward to returning to Donnybrook, a ground we know well, having lifted the Six Nations Grand Slam there in 2017. Whatever the conditions, we will be focussed on the task in hand.”

England and Ireland last came together at Twickenham Stadium in the 2018 Quilter Internationals, with the Red Roses winning 37-15.

England

15 Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 17 caps)
14 Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies, 2 caps)
13 Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 74 caps)
12 Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 2 caps)
11 Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 5 caps)
10 Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 102 caps)
9 Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 24 caps)

1 Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women, 5 caps)
2 Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 13 caps)
3 Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women, 20 caps)
4 Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 7 caps)
5 Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 24 caps)
6 Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo, 1 cap)
7 Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 61 caps)
8 Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 108 caps)

16 Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 41 caps)
17 Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women, uncapped)
18 Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies, 5 caps)
19 Rosie Galligan (Saracens Women, uncapped)
20 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond Ladies, 47 caps)
21 Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 41 caps)
22 Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 8 caps)
23 Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 23 caps)