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Rugby - 01. February 2009.

England Womens team announced for RBS 6 Nations opener

England Women's Head Coach Gary Street has today (Monday) announced his starting line-up for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy at London Welsh RFC, kick-off 130pm.

The 22 includes an exciting mixture of youth and experience, with the team hoping to kick start England's defence of their triple grand slam crown on a winning note.

Bristol's No. 8 Catherine Spencer will lead England for her second season, with Darlington Mowden Park Sharks fly-half Katy McLean named as vice-captain. Richmond's Becky Essex starts for her second cap, while at the other end of the scale Saracens hooker Amy Garnett will run out for her 71st cap.

England last played Italy in the RBS 6 Nations last season and ran out convincing 76-6 winners.

Street said: "Last year we beat Italy rather convincingly, but I think Italy caught us on a really good day. We know that they can be much more competitive as after our win last season they went on to have a much more competitive campaign and picked up their first ever six nations victory against Scotland. They also gave us a really tough game at Twickenham two years ago, so we certainly won't be taking them lightly."

The pressure is on England this season as they bid to secure an unprecedented fourth consecutive six nations crown, but Street is adamant this won't affect his side.

He added: "The pressure is always on us; we are the team everyone wants to beat but we don't mind. We thrive on pressure. From our perspective, we will treat this campaign no differently to any other season and hopefully our performances on the pitch will do the talking."


1 Rochelle Clark Blaydon
2 Amy Garnett Saracens
3 Sophie Hemming Bristol
4 Natalie Binstead Wasps
5 Joanna McGilchrist Wasps
6 Rebecca Essex Richmond
7 Lois Moulding Lichfield
8 Catherine Spencer (C) Bristol
9 Amy Turner Richmond
10 Katy McLean (VC) Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
11 Fiona Pocock Richmond
12 Kimberley Oliver Bristol
13 Emily Scarratt Lichfield
14 Francesca Matthews Richmond
15 Victoria Massarella Saracens
16 Samantha Reeve Worcester
17 Rosemarie Crowley Lichfield
18 Gemma Sharples Worcester
19 Karen Jones Richmond
20 Georgina Rozario Plymouth Albion
21 Christina Lee Bristol
22 Charlotte Barras Saracens

Head Coach Gary Street
Assistant Coach Graham Smith

England Women RBS 6 Nations Fixtures:

Feb 7th England v Italy 13.30 London Welsh RFC
Feb 14th Wales v England 13.00 Taffs Wells RFC, Cardiff
Feb 27th Ireland v England 19.30 St. Mary's RFC, Dublin
March 15th England v France 13.30 London Welsh RFC
March 21st England v Scotland 13.30 London Welsh RFC

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