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Six Nations: Squad news

The 2018 Six Nations is only four weeks away - and we are now getting an idea about what the teams are likely to look like.


England U20s Helena Rowland (Saracens Women) and Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women), who made her international debut against Canada last year, both join the training squad. Charlotte Pearce (Loughborough Lightning), who took part in England’s extended training camp in October and also featured in the training games against South Africa, is included.

Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies), who earned her first international cap in the opening Old Mutual Wealth Series Test which saw England beat Canada 79-5, has joined the squad as a new EPS player.

Backs: Bianca Blackburn (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies), Lauren Cattell (Saracens Women), Charlotte Clapp (Saracens Women), Abigail Dow (Wasps FC Ladies), Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women), Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Caity Mattinson (Bristol Ladies), Charlotte Pearce (Loughborough Lightning), Amber Reed (Bristol Ladies), Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies), Helena Rowland (Saracens Women), Kelly Smith (Gloucester- Hartpury Women’s RFC), Lagi Tuima (Bristol Ladies), Danielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies), Rachael Woosey (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks). Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) will miss the camp for personal reasons.

Forwards: Sarah Bern (Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC), Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women), Jo Brown (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond FC), Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies), Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies), Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women), Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies), Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries), Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning), Olivia Jones (Loughborough Lightning), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Poppy Leitch (Bristol Ladies), Justine Lucas (Wasps FC Ladies), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol Ladies), Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning), Marlie Packer (Saracens Women), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies).


Shannon Izar’s absence (due to a knee operation) is the headline news from the French training squad, which – despite being right at the start of the cycle leading to the next World Cup – is not lacking in experience - over three-quarters of the players already have national caps.

Lise Arricastre (Lons Rugby Béarn Pyrénées); Cyrielle Banet (Montpellier RC); Camille Boudaud (Stade Toulousain); Caroline Boujard (Montpellier RC); Pauline Bourdon (AS Bayonnaise); Patricia Carricaburu (Lons Rugby Béarn Pyrénées); Emma Coudert (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin); Annaëlle Deshaye (AS Rouen Université Club); Julie Duval (L’Ovalie Caennaise); Madoussou Fall (AC Bobigny 93 Rugby); Céline Ferer (AS Bayonnaise); Maëlle Filopon (FC Grenoble Amazones); Audrey Forlani (Blagnac Rugby Féminin); Emeline Gros (FC Grenoble Amazones); Gaëlle Hermet (Stade Toulousain); Fiona Lecat (Stade Toulousain); Jade Le Pesq (Stade Rennais Rugby); Marjorie Mayans (Blagnac Rugby Féminin); Marine Menager (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois); Romane Menager (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois); Gaëlle Mignot (Richmond Rugby); Safi N'diaye (Montpellier RC); Elise Pignot (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin); Yanna Rivoalen (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois); Agathe Sochat (Montpellier RC); Milena Soloch (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois); Caroline Thomas (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin); Laure Touye (Blagnac Rugby Féminin); Jessy Tremouliere (Stade Rennais Rugby); Gabrielle Vernier (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois)


Ireland include nine uncapped players in their squad, which includes nine players from the sevens squad who will be unavailable for the opening game.

Starting with France away will be a tough ask for an Irish side who have been through a challenging post World Cup period, with a public fallout between players and the union, a new head coach and a number of surprising absentees including Jen Murphy and the retirement of Sophie Spence.

Media reports say that Mike Ross has joined the coaching team in a scrum role and his experience would surely be invaluable in this vital year for Ireland on the back of a poor home World Cup. 

Backs (20): Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster); Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster) *; Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht); Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster); Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster); Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster); Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster); Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster); Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht); Katie Heffernan (Railway Union/Leinster) *; Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster) *; Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster); Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster); Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht); Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (UL Bohemians/Munster) *; Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Susan Vaughan (Railway Union/Leinster) *; Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *

Forwards (18): Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster); Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster); Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht) *; Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary's/Leinster); Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary's/Leinster); Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht); Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster); Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster); Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster) *; Edel McMahon ((Galwegians/Connacht) *; Claire Molloy (Bristol); Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster); Ciara O'Connor (Galwegians/Connacht); Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians/Munster); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster); Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)

* Denotes uncapped player


Italy’s 37-player training squad includes 16 uncapped players as they rebuild after the World Cup.

Sara BARATTIN (Iniziative Villorba Rugby) 77 caps – capitan; Elisa BONALDO (Rugby Colorno) 3 caps; Jessica BUSATO (Villorba Rugby) 1 cap; Giulia CAVINA (Rugby Cogoleto) – uncapped; Arianna CORBUCCI (Frascati Rugby Club 2015) – uncapped; Chiara Maria D’APICE (Montevirginio Mini Rugby) – uncapped; Anna DE ROSSI (Rugby Riviera 1975) – uncapped; Giordana DUCA (Frascati Rugby Club 2015) – uncapped; Giorgia DURANTE (Montebelluna Rugby 1977) – uncapped; Valeria FEDRIGHI (Rugby Riviera 1975) – 8 caps; Giada FRANCO (Rugby Colorno) – uncapped; Manuela FURLAN (Iniziative Villorba Rugby) – 61 caps; Giovanna FUSELLA (Rugby Belve Neroverdi) – uncapped; Lucia GAI (Stade Rennais) – 52 caps; Silvia GAI (Rugby Liceo Monti) – 1 cap; Gaia GIACOMOLI (Rugby Colorno) – 8 caps; Elisa GIORDANO (Valsugana Padova) – 27 caps; Annamaria GIZZI (Frascati Rugby Club 2015) – 1 cap; Carlotta GUERRESCHI (Cus Torino) – 1 caps; Isabella LOCATELLI (Rugby Monza 1949) – 16 caps; Maria Edvige LONGARON (I Puma Bisenzio Rugby) – uncapped; Veronica MADIA (Rugby Colorno) – 7 caps; Michela MERLO (Rugby Colorno) – uncapped; Aura MUZZO (Iniziative Rugby Villorba) – 1 cap; Miriam PAGANI (Rugby Como) – uncapped; Laura PAGANINI (Cus Milano Rugby) – uncapped; Eleonora RICCI (Umbria Rugby Ragazze) – 1 cap; Beatrice RIGONI (Valsugana Rugby Padova) – 22 caps; Claudia SALVADEGO (Valsugana Rugby Padova) – 1 cap; Elisa SALVATORE (Cus Torino) – uncapped; Camilla SARASSO (Cus Torino) – uncapped; Michela SILLARI (Rugby Colorno) – 39 caps; Emanuela STECCA (Benetton Treviso) – uncapped; Sofia STEFAN (Stade Rennais) – 33 caps; Silvia TURANI (Rugby Colorno) – 1 cap; Beatrice VERONESE (Valsugana Padova) – 1 caps; Federica VIOLI (Rugby Colorno) – uncapped


In many respects Scotland start ahead of their rival in the build to 2021 as they had no World Cup last year (and, come to that, no upcoming World Series, Sevens World Cup or Commonwealth Games either) to distract them, and this squad builds directly on their 2017 Six Nations where they had their best performance for a decade.

They will also warm up with a test against Spain at Scotstoun next month (Sunday 21 January, kick-off 1pm TBC).


Wales have yet to announce their squad. "The key thing is that we've got four years as far as this team is concerned," Rowland Phillips said this weekend. "What we don't want to do is make wholesale changes and throw a load of youngsters into this first game (v Scotland). The right way to do it would be to drip feed one or two players here and there."

"We'll have selected our squad before the game against Ireland, whereas against Japan we had the luxury of running as many players as we could. This time we'll be so close to the Six Nations opener that it would make more sense to use only 24-25 players and use it as prep for Scotland."