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Rugby - 01. February 2008.

England Women’s captain predicting RBS 6 Nations thriller





Spencer, whose side go into the campaign hoping to secure an unprecedented third consecutive Grand Slam win in six nations history, believes England’s Welsh rivals will be eager to knock the reigning champions off their perch.


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“This fixture is a great way to kick off this season’s RBS 6 Nations,” said the 27-year-old Worcester No.8. “Wales will come at us with a great deal of pride and passion and will be determined to create the first upset of the tournament.


“They have a team full of experience and we will have to be on top of our game to get the win that we want. Wales have several players that can cause us trouble and we will have to be watertight in defence for the full 80 minutes.


“They are led by a very talented player in Mel Berry. She is playing at 8 so our backrow, myself included, will have to be really alert to her throughout the game.”


Spencer, who lives in Bristol but started playing rugby for Folkestone RFC as a mini, is however confident that she will have the best 22 England players to help keep the reigning champions on track and achieve their aim of winning another title.


She added: “I’m really excited to be playing alongside the team that will be taking to the pitch on Saturday. I believe that we have strength across the board, from 1 to 22. We are very fortunate to have a very strong bench and the impact that they will make when they come on to the pitch will be invaluable.

“We are not only defending our Grand Slam but we are also aiming to make history and become the first ever team to win three Grand Slams on the trot. As a team we thrive on this pressure and as a captain I believe that we have a duty to the players that have been involved in the previous two six nations to achieve this goal. Their hard work and devotion will drive us forward on Saturday. We will be taking each game as it comes but I for one cannot wait for the whistle to blow at 2.30pm at Sunbury on Saturday.”

England

1 Rochelle Clark Henley

2 Amy Garnett Saracens

3 Katy Storie Blaydon

4 Tamara Taylor Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

5 Joanna McGilchrist Wasps

6 Sarah Hunter Lichfield

7 Margaret Alphonsi Saracens

8 Catherine Spencer (C) Worcester

9 Amy Turner Richmond

10 Katy McLean Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

11 Michaela Staniford Wasps

12 Rachael Burford Saracens

13 Claire Allan Saracens

14 Danielle Waterman Clifton

15 Charlotte Barras Saracens

Replacements:

16 Emma Layland Richmond

17 Sophie Hemming Clifton

18 Sarah Beale Leos

19 Jane Leonard Wasps/Army

20 Alice Richardson Richmond

21 Katherine Merchant Worcester

22 Victoria Massarella Saracens

Head Coach Gary Street

Assistant Coach Graham Smith


England RBS 6 Nations Fixtures

February 2nd England v Wales London Irish RFC, Sunbury KO 230pm

February 9th Italy v England Stadio Tre Fontane, Rome, KO 230pm local time

February 23rd France v England Bergerac, nr Agen KO 4pm local time

March 8th Scotland v England Meggetland Stadium, Edinburgh KO12pm

March 15th England v Ireland London Irish RFC, Sunbury KO 445pm

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