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Bears go head-to-head as England face Wales

Ten Bears Women players will go head to head in Saturday's TikTok Women’s Six Nations clash between England and Wales at Kingsholm (9 April, kick-off 4.45pm and live on BBC Two).

Sarah Bern returns to the Red Roses side, while Abbie Ward retains her place in the second row while there's a return on the bench for Amber Reed.

In the Welsh side, captain Siwan Lillicrap switches to blindside with Alisha Butchers moving to openside. Kayleigh Powell and Jasmine Joyce line up in the back three, with Keira Bevan, Talia John and Elinor Snowsill among the replacements.


England Head Coach, Simon Middleton said: “We're really looking forward to our first home game of this year’s Six Nations.
 
“We’re pleased with our performances to date and this weekend provides another opportunity for other players to step up.
 
“Selection has been very tough and I know some players will be bitterly disappointed to not have made the line-up. We said all along we would rotate the squad and we have again this week with another eight either positional or personnel changes in the starting line-up alone.
 
“However, that also came with the requirement of training well enough to merit selection. Some players have pulled up a little short of that mark and given the intense competitive nature of the squad you just can’t afford to not be at your best. At the same time that doesn’t necessarily rule them out of the rest of the competition or any squad going forward. Those decisions rest with them and how they react to the disappointment of not making the squad this time around.
 
“Wales’ new contracts have galvanised and lifted their group and that’s shown in the nature of their performances and two wins out of two to date. They have looked well organised and have finished strong in both games, that’s testimony to the work Ioan (Cunningham) and his staff group have put in and of course the attitude of the players. It’s great to see and makes for a top-class game and a stadium that will be bouncing.


Wales Head Coach, Ioan Cunningham said: “These players are all deserving of their places, whether they are starting or on the bench. Every player has a key role to play, as we saw against Ireland and Scotland.

“We are excited by this big challenge against the No 1 team in the world. On average, they are scoring about eight tries a match so we are in no doubt about the extent of the task. However, we want to compete with the best teams in the world so this is a great opportunity for us to test ourselves and progress.

“We are proud of the way we came back to win both our first two games but we must start better and get our penalty count down. They are two of our work-ons plus we need to convert any scoring opportunities.

“The players train and play with and against the England players week-in, week-out so while we respect the side, there is familiarity, not fear.

“We are looking forward to playing at Gloucester. Ten of our matchday squad are Gloucester-Hartpury players and it will be fantastic to play in front of a huge crowd there which will hopefully include some Welsh voices too.”

Wales:
 Kayleigh Powell; Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Jasmine Joyce; Robyn Wilkins, Ffion Lewis; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Donna Rose, Sisilia Tuipulotu, Gwen Crabb, Siwan Lillicrap (capt), Alisha Butchers, Sioned Harries.

Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Cara Hope, Cerys Hale, Alex Callender, Bethan Lewis, Keira Bevan, Elinor Snowsill, Natalia John.

England: Abby Dow; Jess Breach, Emily Scarratt, Helena Rowland, Sarah McKenna; Zoe Harrison, Lucy Packer; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Poppy Cleall, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter (capt).

Replacements: Connie Powell, Maud Muir, Shaunagh Brown, Rosie Galligan, Vicky Fleetwood, Natasha Hunt, Amber Reed, Ellie Kildunne.


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