Clark set to win 100th cap for England Women

Mar 18 • General News, International, Six Nations • 1513 Views • Comments Off on Clark set to win 100th cap for England Women

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Worcester prop Rochelle Clark will become England Women’s joint most capped player of all time on Saturday when she runs out against defending Six Nations champions France at Twickenham Stadium, kick off 720pm.

The 33-year-old, who made her England debut against Canada in 2003, will join former England hooker Amy Garnett in the history books as she earns her 100th cap for her country as England look to finish their Six Nations campaign on a high.

England’s Acting Head Coach Nicola Ponsford has made just four changes, including one positional, for Saturday’s final game. Bristol’s Amber Reed comes in off the bench to start in the centre, while Abbie Scott and Hannah Gallagher also return to the starting line-up in the pack.

Richmond’s Alexandra Matthews moves to Number 8 from flanker for this game.

“I would like to pay tribute to Rochelle,” said Ponsford. “It is an absolutely fantastic milestone to achieve 100 caps, especially in such an attritional position as prop.

“Ever since she got her first cap back in 2003 she has always been 100 percent committed to playing for England. She has an unrivalled passion and desire to set the standards for other players to follow. Her work ethic and work rate, particularly in defence is massive, and she has contributed to many of England’s past successes, including our World Cup win in 2014. She is a world class prop who has dominated a number of props over the years and I can see no reason why she won’t continue to do so. Rochelle’s ambition is to play at the next Rugby World Cup in 2017 and currently I can see no reason why she won’t be there.”

England currently sit third in the Six Nations behind France, who lead the title chase, and Ireland who are second. England, who still have an outside chance of winning the Six Nations, head into Saturday’s game on the back of a 42-13 win over Scotland while France suffered a surprise 17-12 defeat to Italy last weekend.

Ponsford added: “There were a lot of positives to take from the Scotland win. We were disappointed that we made too many penalties but the attacking platform was much better and there was a better balance between the forwards and backs. That attacking platform is the building block we need to keep working on while focusing on a good defensive effort. If we can bring these two elements together we can cement a more rounded performance.

“France will certainly be hurting from their defeat to Italy at the weekend. They will have learned some important lessons but what Italy have shown is that if you take the game to the opposition any team in this Six Nations is beatable. Our focus will be to concentrate on our performance on Saturday and making sure we finish our Six Nations campaign on a high. The changes we have made to the pack will help us deliver the physicality we need up front against France while the inclusion of Amber Reed at centre will give us more experience in the midfield. ”

England
15 Fiona Pocock (Richmond)
14 Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
13 Amber Reed (Bristol)
12 Ceri Large (Worcester)
11 Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (C)
9 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Saracens)
3 Justine Lucas (Lichfield)
4 Tamara Taylor (VC) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
7 Hannah Field (Richmond)
8 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)

Replacements:
16 Amy Cokayne (Lichfield)
17 Victoria Cornborough (Richmond)
18 Laura Keates (Worcester)
19 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
20 Harriet Millar-Mills (Waterloo)
21 Fiona Davidson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
22 Abigail Brown (Bristol)
23 Katie Mason (Bristol)

Six Nations playing schedule:
Sunday, February 8, Wales 13 England 0, Swansea RFC
Sunday, February 15, England 39 Italy 7, Twickenham Stoop,
Friday, February 27, Ireland 11 England 8, Ashbourne RFC
Friday, March 13, England 42 Scotland 13, the Northern Echo Arena, Darlington
Saturday, March 21, England v France, KO 7.20pm, Twickenham Stadium, live on the BBC Red Button.

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