Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer will co-captain England in the Women’s Six Nations in 2023.

England’s starting eight Sarah Hunter and flanker Marlie Packer will serve as co-captains as they begin the Women’s Six Nations title defense this month.

Before leaving his position as head coach of England at the conclusion of the competition, Simon Middleton has selected his final team.

Scrum-half After being left out of England’s World Cup roster, Natasha Hunt and Sarah Beckett, wearing number 8, are back.

The 42-person group also included nine uncapped players.

May Campbell and Kelsey Clifford of Saracens are chosen together with Elizabeth Duffy of Sale Sharks and Nancy McGillivray of Exeter Chiefs, both of whom have played for England Under-20s.

On Saturday, March 25, England takes on Scotland in Newcastle to open their campaign (16:45 GMT).

maternity lock Injured Emily Scarratt, the team’s normal center, and Abbie Ward are not available for selection but will still be present and contribute to the coaching staff.

Although we are lacking seasoned players, Middleton said, “This is a terrific opportunity for these younger guys and we’re looking forward to working with them.” There are a number of new faces on the roster.

“Every World Cup has a recovery time after it, and this one is no exception.

“Because Sarah has made it obvious that she won’t be participating in the 2025 World Cup as a player, it’s critical that we continue to improve the quality and breadth of our leadership.

Marlie is already a key member of our leadership team, so becoming the team’s co-captain and strengthening her leadership abilities is a logical next step.

Middleton took over as head coach in 2015 and has helped England win four Grand Slams and five Six Nations championships.

He says coaching is one of the “next important foundations” to be established in the women’s game and that the search for his replacement is ongoing.

Said him: “Despite their absences from the field, Abbie Ward and Emily Scarratt both showed a desire to assist our Six Nations campaign.

“Both of them, who are essential members of our strategy and leadership team, have what I consider to be excellent coaching potential in terms of their subject matter expertise and delivery.

We all agree that one of the next major foundations to be established for the women’s game will be coaching, so it only makes sense that we seize this chance to support both players where they have stated a desire to grow.

The forwards on the England team are: Zoe Aldcroft, Sarah Beckett, Sarah Bern, May Campbell, Bryony Cleall, Poppy Cleall, Kelsey Clifford, Amy Cokayne, Liz Crake, Lark Davies, Rosie Galligan, Detysha Harper, Sarah Hunter, Sadia Kabeya, Poppy Leitch, Alex Matthews, Maud Muir, Cath O’Donnell, Marlie Packer, Connie

Backs: Tatyana Heard, Natasha Hunt, Leanne Infante, Ellie Kildunne, Claudia MacDonald, Nancy McGillivray, Sarah McKenna, Lucy Packer, Amber Reed, Helena Rowland, Ellie Rugman, Emma Sing, Lydia Thompson, Ella Wyrwas, and Jess Breach

Sara Orchard, a rugby reporter for BBC

England’s arsenal has some significant holes, especially at fly-half and prop. The willingness of forwards coach Louis Deacon may be a better indicator of Middleton’s bravery in awarding a large number of fresh caps during the competition.

He will continue to serve as the Red Roses’ senior coach even after the Six Nations. He is currently the only such senior coach. Every Test counts since there aren’t many competitions left until England hosts the 2025 World Cup.

Regular captain Sarah Hunter is anticipated to announce her retirement soon, giving Saracens’ Marlie Packer the chance to establish herself as the Red Roses’ top priority.

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