Emily Scarratt to lead England for Women's Rugby World Cup clash with Italy
Last Updated: 12/08/17 7:02pm
England have made 10 changes for their World Cup match against Italy in Dublin with Emily Scarratt leading the team.
Regular captain Sarah Hunter drops to the bench for the second pool game of the Red Roses' title defence, resulting in Scarratt's elevation to skipper.
Natasha Hunt makes her first appearance of the tournament at scrum-half, forming a new half-back partnership with Amber Reed, while Olympian Amy Wilson-Hardy is given her World Cup debut on the wing.
Flanker Marlie Packer, lock Tamara Taylor, prop Justine Lucas, hooker Amy Cokayne and Alex Matthews are drafted in, while Rochelle Clark will win her 126th cap.
"We have options available to us in terms of selection and running different combinations," head coach Simon Middleton said
"We want to take full advantage of the depth, talent and experience in the squad. Our aim is to continually build and improve our performances.
"The team have recovered well and have been working hard over the past two days to ensure we are fully prepared for the next challenge."
England's last clash with Italy was a 29-15 victory during the Six Nations earlier this season and they have faced them on two previous occasions.
"We are expecting a tough and physical encounter. Italy have caused us plenty of problems in the past and are an incredibly talented side," Middleton said.
England: 15 Danielle Waterman, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Emily Scarratt (c), 12 Rachael Burford, 11 Amy Wilson-Hardy, 10 Amber Reed, 9 Natasha Hunt, 1 Rochelle Clark, 2 Amy Cokayne, 3 Justine Lucas, 4 Tamara Taylor, 5 Zoe Aldcroft, 6 Izzy Noel-Smith, 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Alex Matthews.
Replacements: 16 Heather Kerr, 17 Vickii Cornborough, 18 Poppy Cleall, 19 Harriet Millar-Mills, 20 Sarah Hunter, 21 La Toya Mason, 22 Katy Mclean, 23 Megan Jones.