The England Women’s A team to face their French counterparts this Saturday in Bourgoin, kick-off 3pm GMT, has today (Tuesday) been announced.
England A Head Coach Mike Barnett has again made a handful of changes for the team’s fourth fixture of the season, which has seen them so far win two games from three outings.
Worcester’s Samantha Dale returns to the A side after gaining her first full cap against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations. Saracens’ Sonia Green starts at number 8, so Gemma Sharples starts in the number 6 shirt, while Jane Leonard also returns from Six Nations action in the backrow.
Wasps’ Shelley Rae returns to international action at fly-half with Tina Lee moving into the centre.
Barnett said: “We have made a handful of changes again for this fixture because A team rugby is all about giving squad members game time and giving the players the opportunity to show what they can do.
“Saying that, we are also going into every game with the aim of winning so this is another strong side. It’s great to be able to name Shelley Rae in the starting line-up as she is an experienced head who will assist our young backs. Sam Dale also comes back into the reckoning after a good game for the seniors as does Jane Leonard.”
England A last played France A 11 months ago and came away with a thrilling 21-7 win albeit another tough fixture and Barnett is expecting more of the same on Saturday.
He added: “All our games this season have been very challenging. We started the season with a win against the US and they were a good team to open our campaign. The competition has stepped up since then, playing an experienced Nomads team and then taking on the full international Spanish team.
“This match against France is going to be another step-up as it has proved for the past two years and playing in France is going to make the challenge even more demanding, but all the players are eager to continue their winning run and show the coaches what they have to offer.”
1 Claire Purdy (Wasps) (C)
2 Samantha Dale (Worcester)
3 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield)
4 Sara Anastasi (Richmond)
5 Natalie Binstead (Wasps)
6 Gemma Sharples (Worcester)
7 Jane Leonard (Army/Wasps)
8 Sonia Green (Saracens)
9 Georgina Rozario (Plymouth Albion)
10 Shelly Rae (Wasps)
11 Fiona Pocock (Richmond)
12 Tina Lee (Clifton)
13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
14 Helen Price (Waterloo)
15 Vicki Jackson (Lichfield)
16 Samantha Jamieson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
17 Katherine Smith (Richmond)
18 Ali Stevens (Lichfield)
19 Lois Moulding (Lichfield)
20 Sarah Guest (Worcester)
21 Charlotte Boggis (Exeter University)
22 Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Head Coach Mike Barnett
Assistant coaches Andy Paton & Gavin Williams
England A Women Fixtures
Feb 2nd England v Nomads London Irish RFC, Sunbury, KO 1230pm LOST 27-12
Feb 9th Spain v England A, Stadium of the University City of Madrid, KO 4pm WON 22-5
Feb 23 France A v England A, Bourgoin, 3pm GMT
March 15th England A v Nomads, London Irish RFC, Sunbury, KO 3pm