HomeNewsWomen's Six Nations 2023: England v France - Marlie Packer fit for...

Women’s Six Nations 2023: England v France – Marlie Packer fit for decider

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Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 29 April Kick-off: 13:00 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Two, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app; listen on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

England captain Marlie Packer is fit for Saturday’s Grand Slam decider against France in the final weekend of the 2023 Women’s Six Nations.

Flanker Packer and prop Hannah Botterman were injury concerns after last weekend’s win against Ireland but both will start at Twickenham.

Helena Rowland is at outside centre as Lagi Tuima drops out of the squad while Lucy Packer starts at scrum-half.

Prop Sarah Bern and hooker Lark Davies also return to the starting line-up.

Sarah Beckett – omitted from last year’s World Cup squad – is retained in the second row after a player-of-the-match performance against Ireland and Poppy Cleall is included on the bench as she returns from injury.

Crowd that defies expectations

England are seeking a fifth successive Women’s Six Nations title and will be watched by a crowd of more than 53,000 in their first standalone Test at Twickenham.

That figure will surpass the record for a women’s rugby crowd of 42,579, set at England’s World Cup final loss to New Zealand at Eden Park in 2022.

Earlier in that World Cup, England claimed an 11th victory in a row against France with a tight 13-7 pool-stage win.

England head coach Simon Middleton – who will step down after Saturday’s game – said of the ticket sales: “I’m not sure we were expecting it to be as big as what it is.

“Hopefully that’s because the team and the competition have grabbed the imagination of the public.”

England: Kildunne; Dow, Rowland, Heard, MacDonald; Aitchison, L Packer; Botterman, Davies, Bern; Aldcroft, Beckett; Kabeya, M Packer (capt), Matthews.

Replacements: Powell, Carson, Muir, Cleall, Talling, Hunt, Reed, Breach.

More to follow.

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