Darlington Mowden Park fly-half Katy McLean will skipper England as they
bid to win a sixth consecutive Six Nations title this season and defend
their grand slam crown.
England Head Coach Gary Street has named a strong 22 that includes 17
players who featured in last September’s Rugby World Cup (RWC) final
defeat against New Zealand. Michaela Staniford, who was also in
the RWC squad, Kim Oliver, Rowena Burnfield, Georgina Rozario and Georgina
Roberts meanwhile share an impressive 88 caps between them.
“We have worked really hard since the disappointment of losing the
world cup,” said Street, who is joined by assistant coach Graham Smith
again this season. “We are fortunate that we haven’t had many
retirements since the world cup and that this is still a relatively young
squad, so we are now just looking forward to getting back on the pitch and
playing again. Our aim is to raise our standards, and to focus 100 percent
on this first game.”
Wales finished ninth in the RWC, but England’s last visit to Wales in
the RBS 6 Nations two years ago saw the Red Roses lose by a single point.
Street is determined that England do not slip up on the road again, though
he is expecting their Welsh rivals to offer a new challenge this season.
He added: “The last time we played Wales in Wales we lost 16-15, so
yes there is huge motivation for us here. We got turned over last time and
we don’t want that to happen again.
“Wales, however, have a new coach in Kris da Scossa. Kris is very
experienced, having previously worked for the Canadian national side, and I
am sure for his players having a new coach will create extra motivation.
This is a new start for them so we won’t know what to expect.
“For us too, this is a new start with a new captain and vice captain
and we are all looking forward to getting back on the pitch and starting the
healing process. There is huge anticipation for this game and the season
ahead and my selection for this opener shows that I plan to make sure we do
Kimberley Oliver Bristol
Mowden Park Sharks (C)
9 La Toya
Mowden Park Sharks
England’s RBS 6 Nations Fixtures
Wales v England Feb 6
England v Italy Feb
*England v France Feb
** England v Scotland March
Stadium KO 515pm
Ireland v England March
* Live on Sky Sports
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