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Bern and Leitch to start for Red Roses

Sarah Bern and Poppy Leitch have been named to start for England Women as they take on France Women in the Six Nations at Castle Park on Sunday afternoon (12:45pm).

Bern scored in the Red Roses’ emphatic 51-7 opening weekend victory over Ireland Women and will be looking to continue her impressive form when England welcome last year’s champions to Castle Park. 

Poppy Leitch comes into the squad and will start at open-side flanker in place of the injured Marlie Packer. 

Simon Middleton said: “We have no misconception of the size of the challenge ahead of us against France on Sunday. We were pleased with our performance against Ireland but we now have to improve to get a winning outcome.

“Given their recent form and the fact France come into the tournament as champions, they rightly go into the game favourites.

England Women squad in full to face France Women at Castle Park on Sunday, 10th February (12:45pm KO):

15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 18 caps), 14. Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies, 3 caps), 13. Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 75 caps), 12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 3 caps), 11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 6 caps), 10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 103 caps), 9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 25 caps); 1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 42 caps), 2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 14 caps), 3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women, 21 caps), 4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 8 caps), 5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 32 caps), 6. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 25 caps), 7. Poppy Leitch (Bristol Bears Women, 6 caps), 8. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 109 caps) ©

Replacements: 16. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 42 caps), 17. Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women, 6 caps), 18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies, 6 caps), 19. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond Ladies, 48 caps), 20. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo, 2 caps), 21. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 42 caps), 22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 9 caps), 23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 24 caps)