Category Archives: Six Nations

England Women name team for Six Nations Ireland double header

Alphonsi returns for England

England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street has made seven changes to the team that defeated Scotland two weeks ago for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, kick off 6:20pm.

In a must win match for England against the defending Six Nations Grand Slam champions, Street has called up a new front row with Rochelle Clark, Emma Croker and Sophie Hemming all starting. Also in the pack Maggie Alphonsi returns in the backrow, partnering Hannah Gallagher and Sarah Hunter.

Worcester’s Katherine Merchant and Bristol’s Kay Wilson form a new wing partnership whilst Lichfield’s Natasha Hunt returns at scrum-half.

Street said: “It has been a tough selection this week but I think the quality of our bench shows the depth we have in this squad. We’ve had good week training and the players are feeling really positive and excited about playing against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.”

England last played Ireland in the Six Nations, and it was the Irish who came out on top winning 25-0 in Ashbourne. Phillip Doyle’s side now head to Twickenham, just like Ireland Men, in search of the Triple Crown whilst England know they have to win to keep any hopes alive of taking back the Six Nations crown after their defeat to France earlier this month.

“This is obviously a big game,” said Street. “With our defeat last season to Ireland, playing at Twickenham and knowing we must win, this is a big match. That said, at the same time, for us every game is a big game all the way through to the Rugby World Cup in August now as this is our target.

“Ireland have a strong all round game with some powerful forwards and pace in their backs whilst we’ve learned a lot from our defeat to France and we are feeling ready for this. I think this will be a great expansive game of rugby for the Twickenham crowd to enjoy.”

Rugby fans can watch England Women v Ireland Women for free with free entry to the stadium after England Men v Ireland.

England team v Ireland

15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)

14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)                                                                                      

13 Amber Reed (Bristol)

12 Rachel Burford (Thurrock)

11 Kay Wilson (Bristol)

10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) C

9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)

2 Emma Croker (Richmond)

3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)

4 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)

5 Joanne McGilchrist (Wasps)

6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)

7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)

8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) VC


16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)

17 Laura Keates (Worcester)

18 Sasha Acheson (Bristol)

19 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)

20 Marlie Packer (Wasps)

21 La Toya Mason (Wasps)

22 Ceri Large (Worcester)

23 Lydia Thompson (Worcester)


SCOTTISH RUGBY: Taylor and Horne join up for Italian encounter

At the halfway point in their 6 Nations campaign, Scotland’s under-20 players travel to northern Italy today to prepare for their third match of the championship on Friday 21 February (kick-off 6pm GMT, 7pm local).

Looking for their first win, after defeats to Ireland and England, the Scots prepare to meet their Italian counterparts with four changes to the starting XV who took on the English at Netherdale earlier this month.

Try-scorer against England, Chris Dean, and Neil Herron return to Scotland 7s to prepare for the tournaments in Japan and Hong Kong, while last season’s Scotland under-18 captain, Richard Taylor, comes in at centre. Moving from the bench to the starting line-up are scrum half Murdo McAndrew, prop Phil Cringle and flanker Lewis Carmichael at blindside. Buchan Richardson and Ben Vellacott take their place in the replacements, joined by stand-off George Horne.


Head coach Sean Lineen said: “At 10 – an area where we’ve not had a lot of strength in depth – we’ve got Ben Chalmers and now George Horne is back. They’re both young, are great guys to work with and have another year at 20s so there’s a lot of room for them to develop.


“There was certainly an improvement in our performance against England and we’re looking for more in what will be a tough game against very passionate Italians. I have every confidence in our boys, they’re learning all the time and it’s great to see their enthusiasm and commitment. There’s a lot more to come from these lads.”


Scotland under-20 team to take on Italy under-20, Friday 21 February, Stadio Omero Tognon, Pordenone, Fruili-Venezia Giulia kick-off 6pm (GMT), 7pm (local)


15 Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)


14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **

13 Blair Hutchison (Loughborough/Melrose)

12 Richard Taylor (Melrose/Loretto School) *

11 Damien Hoyland (Melrose) *


10 Ben Chalmers (Melrose)

9 Murdo McAndrew (Clermont Auvergne) 



1 Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors)

2 Sam James (London Wasps)

3 Philip Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **

4 Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)

5 Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons)

6 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose) *

7 Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) CAPTAIN

8 Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby) **



16 James Malcolm (Ayr) *

17 D’arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors) ** 

18 Chris Barnes (Glasgow Hawks) *

19 Buchan Richardson (London Scottish) 

20 Gabriel Carroll (Loughborough University)

21 Ben Vellacott (Worcester Warriors/Hartpury)

22 George Horne (Currie)

23 Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies) **


* member of Scottish Rugby’s Regional Academy supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport

** Elite Development Player 2013/14

England squad resumes training ahead of Ireland clash

The following players will return to Pennyhill Park tomorrow evening (Wednesday) to prepare for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium (4pm, live on BBC Sport)

Forwards (13) 
David Attwood (Bath Rugby) 
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) 
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps) 
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) 
Joe Marler (Harlequins) 
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)   
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) 
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks) 
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) 
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (10) 
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints) 
Danny Care (Harlequins) 
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints) 
Owen Farrell (Saracens) 
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens) 
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) 
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the matchday squad. A full three weeks of training has allowed him the chance to really understand the way we are developing our game and this time has been crucial in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision making and leadership position.

“We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months. 

“Brad Barritt is obviously disappointed to miss out but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future. He hasn’t had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks.”

Dan Cole saw a specialist this evening regarding his neck and the results of the assessment will now be considered by the England and Leicester Tigers medical teams. A further update will be given by Stuart Lancaster at Thursday’s media briefing.

Returning to Aviva Premiership clubs

Chris Ashton (Saracens) 
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby) 
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby) 
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) 
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs) 
Matt Mullan (London Wasps) 
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers) 
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) 
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

SCOTTISH RUGBY: Cuthbert called up to Scotland squad

Jack Cuthbert (pictured above left), the 26-year-old Edinburgh Rugby full-back/winger, has been called up to the Scotland squad preparing for Saturday’s match against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Cuthbert, who was an unused replacement in the corresponding match in Rome two years ago, is promoted from the Scotland A squad who drew 16-all with England Saxons last month.

Cuthbert, capped against Ireland in the World Cup warm-up Test in 2011, has made 14 starts for Edinburgh in his first season with the Capital club, having joined from Bath Rugby.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Grayson Hart, his Edinburgh Rugby team-mate who made his Scotland A debut against the Saxons, will train with the squad this afternoon as Chris Cusiter sits out the session.

Scotland team doctor James Robson said: “Having completed the game for Glasgow Warriors at Cardiff at the weekend, Chris Cusiter subsequently reported to national camp today with a tight calf.

“Given the proximity of Saturday’s international in Rome, Chris will undergo a precautionary scan at the SPIRE Murrayfield Hospital this afternoon in order that we can have a more definitive assessment.”

England Women U20s announce team to face France in return match

England Women Under 20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett has made four changes for Saturday’s return clash against France U20s at Esher RFC, kick off 2pm.

Following a 27-0 defeat to France earlier this month, Bennett has called up Lichfield’s Emma Harbage, Bristol’s Devon Holt and Loughborough’s Scarlet Cooper-Wall from the bench whilst Worcester’s Emily Wood switches to the right wing. Worcester lock Courtney Gill will captain the side.

On the bench, two players could be set to make their international debuts with Lichfield duo Amy Cockayne and Sarah Nicholas named in the match day 23.

Bennett said: “It’s important that players selected for the U20s programme are exposed to competition so we are looking to the new players selected to step up and perform.”

England U20s couldn’t cope with an on-form French team two weeks ago – they ran in five tries to maintain their three year unbeaten run.

“We learned from the first game in Beauvais and we’re expecting players who faced France last time to take this on board,” added Bennett. “The U20s programme is about player development and there is no better opportunity to show progress than to face the same opposition again within three weeks. 

“We certainly hope we can to close the gap on France this time around. One of the biggest lessons learned was the cost of individual errors and how few opportunities teams get at this level. Changes in one or two key areas can make a big difference on the day.” 

England U20s (Club, Region, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence College)

15 Sydney Gregson (Welwyn, Hertfordshire, London & South East, Hartpury College)

14 Emily Wood (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West, Hartpury College)

13 Abigail Brown (Worcester, Devon, South West)

12 Lauren Chenoweth (Worcester, Cornwall, South West)

11 Emma Harbage (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands)

10 Megan Goddard  (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)

9 Devon Holt (Bristol, Berkshire, South West)

1 Abbie Parsons (Bristol, Berkshire, South West)

2 Lark Davies (Worcester, North Midlands, Midlands)

3 Scarlett Cooper-Wall (Loughborough, Hertfordshire, South West)

4 Amy Wigley (Worcester, North Midlands, Midlands, Hartpury College)

5 Courtney Gill (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West) C

6 Francesca  Hall (Richmond, Hampshire, London & South East)

7 Lucie Wood (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)

8 Jo Brown (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Durham, North)


16 Amy Cockayne (Lichfield, Midlands)

17 Catherine Pugh (Lichfield, Essex, London & South East)

18 Henrietta  Burkinshaw (Lichfield, Yorkshire, North)

19 Katie Turnbull (Bristol, South West)

20 Rebecca Trist (Worcester, South West)

21 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)

22 Sarah Nicholas (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands)

23 Rosemary Kells (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)


DAN COLE will have a period of rest from rugby to relieve a bulging disc in his neck which is trapping a nerve.

The Leicester Tigers and England tight-head prop was diagnosed after experiencing weakness during a gym session at St George’s Park last week and will miss the rest of the RBS 6 Nations.

Cole will have further specialist assessment on Tuesday evening and England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “It’s massively disappointing for Dan, Leicester and England but the important thing is that this has been diagnosed and that Dan gets the appropriate rest and treatment.

“Our medics are working closely with Leicester’s to come up with a programme that will ensure Dan returns in the best possible shape. In the meantime, it’s great to have David Wilson back, as well as Henry Thomas who has trained well and came off the bench against Scotland and this will be an opportunity to develop experience in this area.”

Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill said:  “It’s very disappointing for us and for England, and obviously for Dan, but his long-term fitness is more important. He’ll have time to get over this issue and come back when the medical teams are satisfied with his progress.

The following players reported to Pennyhill Park this evening to prepare for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham.

Forwards (17)
David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (16)
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)


England supporters can use #carrythemhome to tweet their motivational messages to the team, which could then appear on the Twickenham Stadium tunnel wall as the players take to the field. Before the roar of the crowd, the national anthems, or that first blow of the whistle, your words will inspire England. Be the First Contact.

Scotland win keeps Six Nations dreams alive for England Women

Women 0 England Women 63

England vice-captain and try scorer Sarah Hunter

England Women put their Six Nations title ambitions back on track in Aberdeen today (Sunday) with a dominant 11-victory over Scotland in the second round.

Wounded after an opening championship 18-6 defeat to France last week, Gary Street’s side overcame a heavy pitch and a buoyant Scotland side to command this win.

The victory now sets up England for a significant clash against reigning Grand Slam champions Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on February 22, kick off 6:20pm immediately after England Men take on Ireland.

England Head Coach Street said: “I’m pleased with the win overall. Scotland is a difficult place to come but some of our play today was fantastic including the play between our backs and forwards. We made mistakes too, and that is partly because I made lots of changes to the team, but we know if we can keep playing with that sort of intensity we can still be a threat in this championship.

“Certainly losing to France rallied us on this week. It was a painful result but we have made amends today to an extent with this comprehensive result. Now this victory sets up a big clash against Ireland in two weeks’ time. Our entire World Cup training squad has now had an opportunity to show what they can do so selection for Ireland will be interesting.”

England dominated from the first whistle with Wasps lock Joanne McGilchrist, returning from injury for the first time this season, driving over to score after much pressure on the Scotland try line. Skipper Katy Mclean couldn’t add the conversion in the blustery conditions.

Scotland showed spirit with Stephanie Johnson going close but she hit an England wall, and instead the visitors turned the momentum with Mclean making a good break in the mid-field, hooker Vicky Fleetwood then got the ball out to centre Amber Reed who scored with some ease.

Scotland had a chance at some points with a penalty but Louise Dalgliesh couldn’t convert and instead on 24 minutes Lydia Thompson scored. The winger broke loose and then dummied her way through Scotland’s defence. She was brought down but the ball was recycled eventually back out to Thompson once again and she finished off the move.

Wasps prop Claire Purdy banked try number four for England, and her first ever international try, before vice-captain Sarah Hunter also muscled her way over. Mclean converted both tries making the score 29-0 at half-time

Mclean opened England’s account after the break with a 49th minute try. Hannah Gallagher made a good break after Scotland were penalised before Purdy and then Mclean showed strength to barge her way over the try-line.

England tested Scotland further when they made a whole host of substitutions and it showed in some powerful scrums and drives which the host’s couldn’t handle. The results came with Emily Scarratt and Maggie Alphonsi both scoring from some good work by the forwards.

Claire Allan, Sophie Hemming and Gallagher then rounded off proceedings as Scotland no longer could cope with this much improved England side, making the final score 63-0.


15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 14 Lydia Thompson (Worcester), 13 Amber Reed (Bristol), 12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock), 11 Claire Allan (Richmond), 10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) C, 9 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 1 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 3 Laura Keates (Worcester), 4 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 5 Joanne McGilchrist (Wasps), 6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), 7 Marlie Packer (Wasps), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) VC. Replacements: 16 Mercedes Foy (Thurrock), 17 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 18 Sasha Acheson (Bristol), 19 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 20 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), 21 Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield), 22 Ceri Large (Worcester), 23 Kay Wilson (Bristol)

Tries: McGilchrist, Reed, Thompson, Purdy, Hunter, Mclean, Scarratt, Alphonsi, Allan, Hemming, Gallagher,

Conversions: Mclean (4)

Substitutions: Foy for Fleetwood, Large for Burford, Wilson for Thompson (all HT), Braund for Hunter, Alphonsi for Packer, Hemming for Keates, Acheson for Purdy, Gulliver for Toya (all 54)


15 Stephanie Johnston (Worcester), 14 Annabel Sergeant (Richmond), 13 Gillian Inglis (Melrose), 12 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 11 Megan Gaffney (Hillhead-Jordanhill), 10 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), 9 Louise Dalgliesh, (RHC Cougars) 1Heather Lockhart (Hillhead-Jordanhill), 2 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), 3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester) (c), 4 Jade Konkel (Hillhead-Jordanhill), 5 Deborah McCormack (Richmond), 6 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 7 Tess Forsberg (Richmond), 8 Lindsay Wheeler (Saracens). Replacements: 16 Nikki McLeod (Stirling County), 17 Lindsey Smith (Hillhead-Jordanhill), 18 Lisa Robertson (Murrayfield Wanderers), 19 Emma Wassel (Murrayfield Wanderers), 20 Anna Stodter (Loughborough University), 21 Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers), 22 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars), 23 Katy Green (Darlington Mowden Park)

Referee: Christine Bigaran

Assistant Referees: Alex Pratt & Don McPherson

Fan pass away at Scotland v England game

Scottish Rugby is extremely saddened to learn of the death of a supporter attending today’s Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield.

A 60-year-old supporter, who was watching the Scotland v England match with a group of friends, took ill.

Paramedics were quickly on the scene and the supporter was transferred by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he was pronounced dead.

Scottish Rugby Union President Donald Macleod said: “We are extremely saddened to hear of the death of a supporter who attended today’s Calcutta Cup match.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to the gentleman’s family and friends and we are standing-by to support in any way we can.”

RFU President Bob Reeves said: “The rugby family has lost one of its members and on behalf of all the travelling England fans and the RFU we extend our condolences to the gentleman’s relations and all those who knew him.”

A statement from Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 60-year-old man collapsed at Murrayfield Stadium at around 5:15pm today. He was taken to ERI where he was pronounced dead. Inquiries are still ongoing but it is believed there are no suspicious circumstances.” 

Unchanged England to face Scotland

ENGLAND have named an unchanged starting XV and replacements’ bench for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Murrayfield (5pm, live on BBC Sport).

The 23 on duty at Stade de France will travel to Edinburgh along with Matt Mullan (London Wasps) as 24th man.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “It’s good to be able to select the same players and they are all determined to put last week’s result behind us and build on the performance. Scotland will be hugely motivated by their defeat in Dublin and, as we found two years ago, Murrayfield is a tough place to play.” 

England (v Scotland, RBS 6 Nations, Murrayfield, Saturday, 5pm GMT, live on BBC Sport)
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 22 caps) 14 Jack Nowell  (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap) 13 Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, 1 cap) 12 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps) 11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps) 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 20 caps) 9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 43 caps) 1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 16 caps) 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 51 Caps) 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 44 caps) 4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 15 caps) 5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 26 caps) 6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 24 caps) 7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 21 caps) 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 6 caps) Replacements 16 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps) 17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 11 caps) 18 Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, 2 caps) 19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 6 caps) 20 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps) 21 Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, 13 caps) 22 Brad Barritt (Saracens, 17caps) 23 Alex Goode (Saracens, 14 caps)

SCOTTISH RUGBY: Sean Maitland update

Sean Maitland, the 25-year-old Glasgow Warriors wing, has undergone further assessment at the Spire Murrayfield Hospital following the injuries which forced his departure from Scotland’s opening RBS 6 Nations Championship match in Dublin last weekend.

Scotland team doctor James Robson said this afternoon: “Sean was examined by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Graham Lawson. He found that Sean has sustained some damage to the structures of his knee and ankle but, happily, does not require surgery.

“The expected recovery time for soft tissue damage of this sort is up to eight weeks.

“Sean is now beginning work on his rehabilitation in the care of the Glasgow Warriors medical team.”

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