The women's Six Nations starts with a match between titleholders England and Scotland. After their victories over the Black Ferns of New Zealand, England are firm favourites to repeat their 2011 Grand Slam.
Scotland vs England
Scotland, who warmed up with a victory over the Netherlands in Amsterdam last November, have a mixture of youth and experience. Wing Sarah Dixon plays her second match, scrumhalf Louise Dalgliesh her 50th.
Coach Karen Findlay said: "I'm really excited about playing England then France at home - they're both massive challenges - and I'm particularly looking forward to kicking off the tournament against England.
"Every game is going to be a challenge and I'd like to think the hard work we've put in - in terms of coaching and player effort - since the last Six Nations will have paid off. We did a lot of soul-searching and have worked hard to improve our core skills and basic preparation."
England's coach Gary Street has named a young looking England side with uncapped lock Emily Braund on the bench. Lichfield’s Harriet Millar-Mills, Saracens’ Hannah Gallagher, Bristol’s Isabelle Noel-Smith and Worcester’s Ceri Large will also be looking to build on their handful of international caps. There is also experience in this 22 with the likes of Claire Purdy, Sophie Hemming, Michaela Staniford and Emily Scarratt, amongst others, in the squad.
Street said: “I think this is actually going to be the toughest Six Nations we have experienced in quite some time. Every game is going to be a challenge, starting with Scotland. Italy are in my opinion the most improved side in the championship, whilst playing Wales at Twickenham Stadium is going to be a huge match. Matches don't come much tougher than playing France in Paris and then we will finish off the series against Ireland, playing them on St. Patrick’s Day weekend."
Scotland: 15 Stephanie Johnston (RHC Cougars), 14 Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers), 13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 12 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), 11 Sarah Dixon (Stirling County), 10 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars), 9 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars), 8 Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond), 7 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 6 Charlotte Veale (London Wasps), 5 Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead/Jordanhill), 4 Anna Swan (RHC Cougars), 3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester), (captain), 2 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), 1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
Replacements: 16 Lindsey Smith (Darlington Mowden Park), 17 Suzanne McKerlie-Hex (Murrayfield Wanderers), 18 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), 19 Kath Muir (RAF), 20 Tess Forsberg (Richmond), 21 Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle), 22 Caroline Collie (OA Saints)
England: 15 Kay Wilson (Bristol), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Rachael Burford (Richmond), 11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (captain), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Marlie Packer (Bristol), 6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), 5 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 1 Claire Purdy (Wasps)
Replacements: 16 Amy Turner (Richmond), 17 Laura Keates (Worcester), 18 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 19 Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol), 20 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield), 21 Ceri Large (Worcester), 22 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Date: Sunday, 5 February 2012
Venue: Lasswade RFC
Referee: Sherry Trumbull (Canada)
Assistant referees: Mhairi Hay (Scotland), Alex Pratt (Scotland)
Ireland vs Wales
Ireland and Wales played their last Test in the last weekend of the 2011 Six Nations. They will both go into this match under-prepared.
Ireland: 15 Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins), 14 Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians), 13 Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians), 12 Grace Davitt (Cooke), 11 Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Highfield), 10 Lynne Cantwell (Exile), 9 Amy Davis (Blackrock), 8 Joy Neville (UL Bohemians), 7 Claire Molloy (Bristol), 6 Laura Guest (Highfield), 5 Sophie Spence (Exile), 4 Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere), 3 Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere), 2 Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians), 1 Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians) (captain)
Replacements: 16 Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary's), 17 Ruth O'Reilly (Galwegians), 18 Siobhan Fleming (Tralee), 19 Heather O'Brien (Highfield), 20 Larissa Muldoon (UWIC), 21 Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins), 22 AN Other
Wales: 15 Mared Evan, 14 Charlie Murray, 13 Philippa Tuttiett, 12 Adi Taviner, 11 Rosie Fletcher, 10 Naomi Thomas, 9 Laura Prosser, 8 Jamie Kift, 7 Rachel Taylor (Capt), 6 Sioned Harries, 5 Shona Powell Hughes, 4 Vicky Owens, 3 Jenny Davies, 2 Rhian Bowden, 1 Caryl Thomas
Replacements: 16 Lowri Harries, 17 Megan York, 18 Sian Williams, 19 Clare Flowers, 20 Amy Day, 21 Rebecca De Filippo, 22 Caryl James,
Date: Friday 3 February
Venue: Ashbourne RFC
Referee: Kevin White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Derek Blake (Ireland), Edward Kenny (Ireland)
Assessor: Michael Carroll (Ireland)
France vs Italy
This could be a good match. France are strong and up in confidence while Italy as an improving side.
Anita Nespoli and Melissa Bettoni are uncapped players in the Italian side.
France squad: Sandrine Agricole (Rennes), Dioni Aguerre (Bayonne), Manon Andre (St Orens), Aïda Ba (Bobigny), Aurélie Bailon (Perpignan), Cyrielle Bouisset (Perpignan), Claire Canal (Perpignan), Christelle Chobet (Lons), Laura Di Muzio (Lille), Emeline Dupont (Lille), Hélène Ezanno (Rennes), Marie Charlotte Hebel (Rennes), Caroline Ladagnous (Lons), Marjorie Mayans (St Orens), Elodie Mert (Bobigny), Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier), Chloé Pelle (Lille), Sandra Rabier (Caen), Laetitia Salles (Perpignan), Jessy Tremouliere (Romagnat), Jennyfer Troncy (Montpellier), Marie Alice Yahe (Perpignan)
Italy squad: Debora Ballarini (Mustang Pesaro), Sara Barattin (Casale), Melissa Bettoni (Red&Blu), Giuliana Campanella (Red&Blu), Chiara Castellarin (Colorno Fc Srl Ssd), Vanessa Chindamo (Monza 1949), Grazia Cioffi Maria (Benevento), Elisa Chucchiella (Red&Blu), Michela Este (Benetton Treviso), Manuela Furlan (Benetton Treviso), Lucia Gai (Riviera Del Brenta), Silvia Gaudino (Monza 1949), Cristina Molic (Riviera Del Brenta), Anita Nespoli (Riviera Del Brenta, Sara Pettinelli (CUS Roma), Veronica Schiavon (Riviera Del Brenta), Flavia Severin (Benetton Treviso), Michela Tondinelli (Benetton Treviso), Alice Trevisan (Riviera Del Brenta), Maria Diletta Veronese (Valsugana Padova), Paola Zangirolami (Valsugana Padova), Sara Zanon (Benetton Treviso), Cecilia Zublena
Date: Friday, 3 February 2012
Venue: Stade Emile-Pons, Riom
Referee: Claire Hodnett (England)
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