The Bristol second row Delaney Burns will make her England debut on Sunday as the Red Roses look to make it two Six Nations wins out of two against Italy. Simon Middleton, the England head coach, has been forced into a number of changes because of injuries and the retirement of Sarah Hunter after the victory over Scotland last Saturday and Marlie Packer takes over as captain.
Zoe Aldcroft will start at No 8, while Cath O’Donnell is named in the second row. Harlequins’ Emily Robinson is on the bench and could make her debut in the game at Franklin’s Gardens.
“We had a memorable day at Franklin’s Gardens in the 2021 autumn international against New Zealand and hopefully we can put on a show,” said Middleton. “We were pleased to get our campaign up and running with a good win against Scotland last weekend, which was a fitting send-off for longtime captain Sarah Hunter.
“Marlie Packer will now take over the role for the rest of the tournament and will want to stamp her own brand of leadership on the team.”
Poppy Cleall and Amber Reed were ruled out on Wednesday because of knee injuries. The RFU said it was hoped they would return “in the latter rounds” of the tournament. Detysha Harper, who sustained an achilles tendon injury in training on Wednesday, will not play any part this year.