England v France: Katy Daley-McLean to captain Red Roses


Katy Daley-McLean runs with the ball
Katy Daley-McLean was England captain when they won the World Cup in 2014
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 21 November Kick-off: 12:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and online with live radio and text commentary

Former captain Katy Daley-McLean will lead England against France at Twickenham on Saturday as Sarah Hunter continues her recovery from injury.

Number eight Hunter hoped to play in England’s final Test of 2020, but Poppy Cleall – usually a lock – starts in the back row.

Emily Scarratt, captain in Saturday’s 33-10 win over France, is on the bench, with Lagi Tuima at 13.

Injured wing Jess Breach is replaced by Claudia MacDonald, a scrum-half.

The match will be shown live on BBC Two.

Daley-McLean, 34, will become the third most capped England player of all time with 116, after Rocky Clarke and Hunter. She was left out of the victory in Grenoble,

Head coach Simon Middleton said: “Even after winning the World Cup as captain in 2014, the smile on Katy Daley-McLean’s face when I asked her to captain the side said everything you need to know about one of England’s greatest ever players.”

Middleton said he was “absolutely gutted” for Hunter, who has a nerve issue which affects her hand, but that he was managing her return to play with the 2021 World Cup in mind.

“There’s a bigger picture over the next 12 months. Come September 2021 we’ll need our captain and that’s our strategy with her,” he said.

In the back row, Harriet-Millar Mills starts alongside Cleall, who has also played at prop and flanker for England, and Alex Matthews, pushing Marlie Packer to the bench.

Prop Ellena Perry, who was brought into the training squad on Tuesday, is also among the replacements.

In the backs, scrum-half Natasha Hunt returns to the matchday 23 after missing the last two games because of a positive coronavirus test, but Leanne Riley retains her starting place at nine.

Tuima will be making her first appearance since June 2019.

England: Kildunne; MacDonald, Tuima, Harrison, Dow; Daley-McLean (capt), Riley; Cornborough, Davies, Brown, Ward, Talling, Millar-Mills, Matthews, Cleall.

Replacements: Cokayne, Perry, Keates, Beckett, Packer, Hunt, Rowland, Scarratt.

BBC News