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Rugby - 06. March 2008.

Spencer says England cannot take anything for granted



England head into the game with three wins from three under their belts and on track to record an unprecedented third consecutive Grand Slam in Six Nations history. Scotland, meanwhile, are hunting for that elusive first win of the championship.

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“I have taken part in some close encounters against the Scots over the years and although we go into the game as favourites we certainly cannot rest on our laurels,” said Spencer, who plays No. 8 for England and Worcester. “We will need to be extremely clinical at the breakdown and at the set-piece to ensure that we can get good quality quick ball out to our backs to enable us to play the style of rugby that we have become accustomed to.

“Although we beat Scotland well last year they will not want to be on the receiving end of such a hammering again and will be looking for revenge. They have a strong forward pack and I am sure that it will be a tough battle up front.”

England have made a handful of changes to the team that defeated France in a record away win two weeks ago. Wasps’ Jane Leonard comes in at flanker for the injured Maggie Alphonsi while Richmond hooker Emma Layland and Saracens full back Vicky Massarella will get their first starts of this season’s Six Nations campaign. Darlington Mowden Park Sharks centre Georgina Roberts will make her international debut and Wasps player Natalie Binstead could also earn her first cap for England if she is called off the bench.

Richmond’s Alice Richardson will start the game at fly half with Katy McLean moving to the bench, while Wasps wing Michaela Staniford moves to the left wing in place of Danielle Waterman. Worcester’s Katherine Merchant will now wear the number 14 jersey and Wasps prop Claire Purdy could earn her third cap if she too is called off the bench.

Spencer added: “We are going in to this game with several changes to the 22. However, I am confident that we can carry forward our momentum from the last three games. Our performance in France was fantastic; I am hoping that this will provide a good springboard for what will be another physical confrontation up in Scotland.”

England

1 Rochelle Clark Henley

2 Emma Layland Richmond

3 Katy Storie Blaydon Team Northumbria

4 Tamara Taylor Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

5 Joanna McGilchrist Wasps

6 Sarah Hunter Lichfield

7 Jane Leonard Wasps/Army

8 Catherine Spencer (C) Worcester

9 Amy Turner Richmond

10 Alice Richardson Richmond

11 Michaela Staniford Wasps

12 Rachael Burford Saracens

13 Georgina Roberts Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

14 Katherine Merchant Worcester

15 Victoria Massarella Saracens

Replacements:

16 Amy Garnett Saracens

17 Claire Purdy Wasps

18 Natalie Binstead Wasps

19 Karen Jones Richmond

20 Danielle Waterman Clifton

21 Katy McLean Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

22 Claire Allan 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 WON 55-0

February 9th Italy v England, Stadio Tre Fontane, Rome, KO 230pm WON 76-6

February 23rd France v England, Bergerac, nr Agen, WON 0-31

March 8th Scotland v England Meggetland Stadium, Edinburgh KO12pm

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

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