August 12, 2017
England v Italy #WRWC2017 Preview
Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane
England, the number ranked team in the world, will meet 9th ranked Italy on Sunday at Billings park UCD in Dublin. England dispatched Spain 56-5 in their opening Women’s Rugby World Cup match, while Italy lost 24-12 to the USA.
In February, England beat Italy 29-15 in the 2017 Six Nations on their way to the Grand Slam, and have won all 15 of the fixtures between the two teams.
The match may be viewed worldwide outside of the United Kingdom and Spain on http://www.rwcwomens.com In the United Kingdom, the match is available on ITV 1.
Emily Scarratt will captain the side at outside center. She was a dynamic player when she entered the match against Spain in the second half, scored a try and also assumed the kicking duties. She will be paired in the centers with Rachael Burford. Simon Middleton has a new half back pairing of Natasha Hunt and Amber Reed, while Olympian Amy Wilson Hardy, with 7 caps, comes in on the wing. Amy is the only starter with less than ten caps for this veteran England side. The other back three will have Lydia Thompson on the wing with Danielle Waterman the fullback.
In the forwards, the front row has been swapped with Rochelle Clark, Amy Cokayne and Justline Lucas joining the starters.
Lock Tamara Taylor will appear at her fourth World Cup, joining Zoe Aldcroft at lock, with Marlie Packer and Alex Matthews added to the back row and Izzy Noel-Smith retained at flanker.
With matches being played every fourth day at the World Cup, Middleton indicated that he would rotate his squad for the first two matches. The final Pool B match on August 17 will be against the USA, that also won their opening match.
Simon Middleton discussed the team with the RFU saying that “We want to take full advantage of the depth, talent and experience in the squad. Our aim is to continually build and improve on performance, 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. We are expecting a tough and physical encounter. Italy have caused us plenty of problems in the past and are an incredibly talented side.”
Italy has made five changes and four positional changes to their starting XV from their match against the USA.
Against England, the forwards have significantly changes as the front row has changed with props Marta Ferrari and Lucia Gai at loosehead and tighthead, respectively and with Melissa Betton moving from tighthead prop to hooker. Alcie Trevisan retains her postion at lock, where she will be paired with Valeria Fedrighi, who gains the start. In the backrow, Ilaria Arrighetti moves to flanker from the reserves, while Isabella switches to openside flanker and Elisa Giodano moves to No. 8.
In the backs, the only change is Beatrice Rigoni replacing Sofia Stefan as a center, while Stefan moves to the reserves. Rigoni will be paired with Maria Grazia Cioffi in the centers.
The halfback combination of captain Sara Barattin and Veronica Schiavon is a combination to watch. Their veteran leadership is essential to the team’s success. The back three, include wings Maria Magatti and Michela Sillari, with Manuela Furlan at fullback.
In the reserves, prop Gaia Giacomoli and lock Valentina Ruzza are on the WRWC 2017 roster for the first time. They have 6 and 14 international caps, respectively.
England v Italy: 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 9. Natasha Hunt 10. Amber Reed 11. Amy Wilson Hardy 12. Rachael Burford 13. Emily Scarratt (Cap), 14. Lydia Thompson 15. Danielle Waterman 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
Italy v England: 1 Marta Ferrari 2 Melissa Bettoni 3 Lucia Gai 4 Valeria Fedrighi 5 Alice Trevisan 6 Ilaria Arrighetti 7 Isabella Locatelli 8 Elisa Giordano 9 Sara Barattin (C) 10 Veronica Schiavon 11 Maria Magatti 12 Beatrice Rigoni 13 Maria Grazia Cioffi 14 Michela Sillari 15 Manuela Furlan 16 Elia Cucchiella 17 Gaia Giacomoli 18 Sara Tounesi 19 Valentina Ruzza 20 Silvia Gaudino 21 Sofia Stefan 22 Paola Zangirolami 23 Veronica Madia