Several Saracens stars named in England women Six Nations squad
England Women head coach Simon Middleton has named a 38-player squad for the 2021 Women’s Six Nations, which includes several Saracens stars.
The Red Roses will assemble in Doncaster on Monday ahead their opening Pool A game against Scotland at Castle Park (Saturday, April 3).
Sarah Hunter returns from a long term injury lay-off to captain the group while Loughborough Lightning teammate Cath O’Donnell is set for her first international action since July 2019.
Saracens quartet Hannah Botterman, Bryony Cleall, Vicky Fleetwood and Sarah McKenna, Gloucester-Hartpury duo Zoe Aldcroft and Ellena Perry and Worcester Warriors’ Lydia Thompson return after missing the autumn fixtures through injury.
The group also includes six development players. Front rowers Maud Muir and Flo Long, plus backs Ellie Green, Merryn Doidge, Beth Wilcock and Flo Robinson have been part of Red Roses training squads since the new year and have impressed in the 2020/21 Allianz Premier 15s season to date.
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They are joined by Flo’s sister Emily Robinson (back rower) who makes her first senior squad.
All 38 players are part of the Six Nations tournament testing protocols which means they can train with the group and are eligible to feature in matchday squads if selected.
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England have carried out individual risk assessments with players to allow them to work or play for their clubs outside of England camps with further measures put in place to protect the training bubble.
Following the match in Yorkshire, England take on Italy at Stadio Plebiscito, Padova (Saturday, April 10) before hosting the final play-off match, the first Women’s Six Nations fixture to be broadcast on the main BBC network (Saturday, April 24) with the venue to be confirmed.
The Friday after the tournament concludes, Simon Middleton’s side will travel to Lille to take on France in a Women’s Six Nations exhibition game in their maiden visit to Villeneuve d'Ascq (Friday, April, 30).
Head coach Simon Middleton said: “From a performance point of view we’ve been training really hard for a few months now. We have a lot of evidence from training to say we’ve raised our intensity and physicality whilst at the same time developing our ability to execute accurately and make good decisions under the pressure that comes with that type of intensive pressure training, that’s what we want to see when we go into the Scotland game."