England’s dominance of the world recreation is as clear as ever because the Purple Roses high the Girls’s Six Nations desk after three comfy wins, however their finest beginning XV stays a thriller.

Head coach Simon Middleton has shuffled virtually everybody in his 40-player squad by means of the primary three video games as he considers his choices.

As we method the enterprise finish of the match, with a World Cup six months away, it’s time for him to disclose his hand.

Middleton says he’ll “take inventory” in the remainder week earlier than England host Eire in Leicester on 24 April.

Right here, we check out three key areas that might be on the England head coach’s thoughts.

The again three

Abby Dow playing against Wales
Abby Dow’s damage may very well be an enormous blow to England’s World Cup marketing campaign

The obvious dilemma for Middleton comes within the again three, with Abby Dow struggling a damaged leg in Saturday’s victory towards Wales.

England haven’t given a timeline for Dow’s restoration, however former England males’s wing Ugo Monye says the Purple Roses “have misplaced an enormous weapon”.

“She is a kind of superhuman ladies that the Purple Roses possess,” he mentioned on BBC Radio 5 Dwell’s Rugby Union Weekly.

“She has that stage of tempo, energy, footwork and agility.”

Dow was the most recent participant to take the beginning 15 shirt, with Middleton giving the full-back function to Ellie Kildunne in England’s earlier two wins.

However with Kildunne typically holding on to the ball when a go may need been extra worthwhile, Monye prompt the surprising transfer of enjoying fly-half and centre Helena Rowland at full-back.

He mentioned England might “go leaps and bounds above each different group” if they’d “a coordinator” like Rowland “that may unleash the gasoline out on the wings however is a secure pair of fingers” at 15.

Sarah McKenna, who has been deployed on the wing up to now this match, might convey extra expertise to the function, whereas twice-capped Emma Sing remains to be rising into the worldwide recreation.

Middleton has beforehand known as Dow probably the greatest finishers on the planet however fortunately England have others who shine on this space too.

Lydia Thompson starred within the second-round win towards Italy and Jess Breach confirmed a 12 months of accidents has not held her again with two tries on her return towards Wales.

Heather Cowell provides additional depth on the wing and, having been launched, is now prone to be known as again into the squad after Dow’s damage.

The again 5 within the pack

Abbie Ward with her arm round Poppy Cleall
Abbie Ward and Poppy Cleall appear prone to begin in England’s again 5

Such is the depth of England’s ahead energy, Middleton makes use of a number of gamers throughout each the second and again rows so he can cram all his expertise into one beginning XV.

Poppy Cleall is one such participant and, having captained England towards Italy, appears to be one of many few assured a beginning place together with lock Abbie Ward.

Ward has began at 5 in all three of England’s 2022 Six Nations video games and is the one participant within the squad to have performed each minute of the match up to now.

However there may be immense competitors for the opposite locations and it’ll solely enhance if World Rugby participant of the 12 months Zoe Aldcroft, who can play lock and flanker, returns from damage in time for the Eire recreation.

Captain and quantity eight Sarah Hunter can be within the combine, whereas flanker Marlie Packer put in a player-of-the-match efficiency towards Scotland and is a talismanic presence within the facet.

Sarah Beckett, Alex Matthews, Sadia Kabeya and Vicky Fleetwood have additionally featured however it’s lock Rosie Galligan – returning to Take a look at rugby for the primary time in three years – who has caught Middleton’s eye.

“We did not fairly count on what we bought out of Rosie Galligan,” he mentioned. “She’s nudged her well beyond a number of folks.”


Natasha Hunt smiles in England training
Natasha Hunt took a break from worldwide rugby as a result of she didn’t get pleasure from England camp whereas strict Covid-19 restrictions had been in place

The principle requirement for an England 9 seems to be the flexibility to play with tempo.

Health has been key for the Purple Roses up to now, with the facet overloading in coaching and coming into video games fatigued as they push their recreation to the restrict.

Natasha Hunt has been the scrum-half who has finest delivered the high-speed gameplan up to now in a player-of-the-match efficiency towards Italy.

Earlier than Hunt returned to the worldwide recreation after a 17-month break, Leanne Infante appeared to have taken maintain of the beginning 9 shirt.

However the Bristol again began in England’s opening win towards Scotland and has not featured since, with Claudia MacDonald – who performed within the autumn – injured.

Lucy Packer has performed in all three video games this 12 months, making her first worldwide begin towards Wales, and put in a very good displaying, however maybe didn’t attain the heights of the extra skilled Hunt.

The gamers could get a relaxation this week, however there may be a lot for Middleton to suppose on earlier than spherical 4.

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