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6 Nations: Final round preview

The title is England's to lose this weekend as they prepare to face Scotland where an expected win will hand them the Grand Slam and title.  It would only be England's second title in seven years with France (2014, 2016, 2018) and Ireland (2013, 2015) sharing the rest of the titles.

England v Scotland
Saturday 16 March, KO 7.30pm, live on Sky and BBC Alba, Twickenham Stadium 
 
England make five changes for this one with Vicky Fleetwood making her first start this year, starting at open-side flanker along with Saracens teammates Hannah Botterman and Poppy Cleall who return to the starting line-up as loosehead prop and second row. 
 
Amy Cokayne is named at hooker after missing out on selection against Italy through injury. In the only change to the back line scrum half Natasha Hunt will make her second start in this year’s championship.
 
On selection Middleton commented: “We’re excited for Vicky Fleetwood who has earned the opportunity to make her first start this weekend and it’s great to have Amy Cokayne back in the side after she missed out last weekend. Natasha Hunt and Leanne Riley both performed extremely well against Italy and this weekend will be great opportunity to provide Natasha with more XVs game-time. We’re very fortunate that we have two in-form players in that position and we’re comfortable starting and finishing either of them."

 Entry to Twickenham Stadium is free on conclusion of the men’s game on Saturday via Gate A or Gate F. Seating will be in the lower bowl and will be unallocated.

Scotland make three changes. Jenny Maxwell will start at scrum half, Nicola Howat comes into the second row alongside Emma Wassel and Sarah Bonar will move from the second row to flanker due to Rachel Malcolm sustaining concussion in last weekend’s match against Wales at Scotstoun.

One new addition to the squad comes in the form of back-row Panashe Muzambe as she takes a place on the bench. 

Head Coach Shade Munro said “England are incredibly strong, but we have been doing everything we can to prepare for the match. Jenny has done very well coming off the bench to scrum half, adding impetus and pace to our attack on every occasion. She deserves her opportunity to start.”

SCOTLAND: 15. Chloe Rollie 14. Rhona Lloyd, 13. Hannah Smith, 12. Lisa Thomson, 11. Annabel Sergeant, 10. Helen Nelson, 9. Jenny Maxwell, 1. Megan Kennedy, 2. Lana Skeldon, 3. Mairi Forsyth, 4. Emma Wassell, 
5. Nicola Howat 6. Sarah Bonar 7. Rachel McLachlan 8. Jade Konkel 
Replacements: 16. Jodie Rettie 17. Lisa Cockburn 18. Katie Dougan 19. Panashe Muzambe 20. Deborah McCormack 21. Mhairi Grieve 22. Lisa Martin, 23. Abi Evans 
Scotland TBC

ENGLAND:  15. Sarah McKenna, 14. Jess Breach, 13. Emily Scarratt. 12. Zoe Harrison, Kelly Smith, Katy Daley-Mclean, Natasha Hunt, 1. Hannah Botterman, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Poppy Cleall,  5. Abbie Scott, 6. Sarah Beckett, 7. Vicky Fleetwood, 8. Sarah Hunter
Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Vickii Cornborough, 18. Shaunagh Brown, 19. Catherine O’Donnell, 20. Marlie Packer, 21. Leanne Riley, 22. Rachael Burford, 23. Emily Scott

 

Wales v Ireland
Sunday 17 March, kick-off 1:30pm,  Cardiff Arms Park

On the back of their first win of the tournament, Wales go into the final game with some momentum, against an Irish side which performed well but who were eventually outplayed by France.  Ireland are seeking to avoid a fifth-place championship finish, which would be their worst in 13 years. 

Wales have made two changes with Elinor Snowsill , who performed well late in the game last week, in at fly-half for Robyn Wilkins – who drops to the bench – while Alisha Butchers slots into the back row at blindside flanker.

It’s the talented Butchers’ first start since Round One and she replaces Scarlets teammate Alex Callender, who is among the replacements.

“We want to capitalise on the confidence we’ve gained from the win over Scotland,” said Phillips.

“We’ve shown a huge amount of character throughout this Championship – to hold Italy out at the end of that game and to come back from behind to win in Scotland showed remarkable attitude – and skill for such a young side. Despite that, I don’t feel we have shown how good a side we are and we’d like to do that on Sunday.

Ireland have changed two with with 17-year-old Beibhinn Parsons handed her first championship start 38-year-old Lindsay Peat is back into the starting XV after coming off the bench against Italy and France, replacing Laura Feeley at loosehead.

IRELAND 15. Lauren Delany 14. Eimear Considine 13. Enya Breen12. Sene Naoupu 11. Beibhinn Parsons10. Nicole Fowley 9. Kathryn Dane1. Lindsay Peat2. Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird3. Fiona Reidy4. Aoife McDermott5. Nichola Fryday 6. Ciara Griffin (captain)7. Claire Molloy 8. Claire McLaughlin.
Replacements:16. Emma Hooban 17. Linda Djougang 18. Laura Feely 19. Edel McMahon 20. Anna Caplice 21. Nicole Cronin  22. Ellen Murphy 23. Laura Sheehan.

Wales: 15. Lauren Smyth (Ospreys)14. Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets)13. Hannah Jones (Scarlets)12. Lleucu George (Scarlets)11. Jess Kavanagh (RGC)10. Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears)9. Keira Bevan (Ospreys) 1. Caryl Thomas (Dragons)2. Carys Phillips (capt, Ospreys)3. Amy Evans (Ospreys)4. Gwen Crabb (Ospreys)5. Mel Clay (Ospreys)6. Alisha Butchers (Scarlets)7. Bethan Lewis (Dragons)8. Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
Replacements: 16. Kelsey Jones (Ospreys)17. Cara Hope (Ospreys)18. Cerys Hale (Dragons)19. Alex Callender (Scarlets)20. Manon Johnes (Cardiff Blues)21. Ffion Lewis (Scarlets)22. Robyn Wilkins (Blues) 23. Lisa Neumann (RGC)

Italy v France
Sunday 17 March, kick-off 1:30pm,  Stadio Plebiscito

Italy could still finish second in the competition but they would need a big home win, with France second on 16 points and Italy four points behind. France have won the last three meetings between the sides in the Women's Six Nations since Italy's 17-12 victory in 2015 and this one could well be close. 

France for their part could technically overtake England at the top, but that is highly unlikely. 

France make some changes to their team.  Marie Saluzzo starts at scrum-half,  with Gaëlle Hermet moving to No 8 in the place of the suspended Romane Menager and Axelle Berthoumieu.  

Italy: 15. Manuela Furlan (c), 14. Aura Muzzo, 13. Michela Sillari, 12. Beatrice Rigoni, 11. Sofia Stefan, 10. Veronica Madia, 9. Sara Barattin, 1. Gaia Giacomoli, 2. Melissa Bettoni, 3. Lucia Gai, 4. Valentina Ruzza, 5. Giordana Duca, 6. Ilaria Arrighetti, 7. Giada Franco, 8. Elisa Giordano
Replacements: 16. Lucia Cammarano, 17. Silvia Turani, 18. Sara TounesI, 19. Valeria Fedrighi, 20. Francesca Sberna, 21. Jessica Busato, 22. Maria Magatti, 23. Camilla Sarasso

FRANCE: Jessy Trémoulière,  Caroline Boujard, Yolaine Yengo, Gabrille Vernier, Ian Jason, Pauline Bourdon, MaylisTraore, Thomas, Ciara Joyeux, Forlani, Celine Ferer, Axelle Berthoumieu,  Gaelle Hermet, Marie Saluzzo 
Replacements: Milena Soloch, Lise Arricastre, Katia Ambonguilat, Marine Pellegris, Emiline Gros, Emma Coudert, Gaelle Imart, M. Ménager