Emily Scarratt will make her first appearance for England in more than 10 months as the Red Roses look to make history when they begin their Six Nations title defense against Scotland on Saturday.
The 32-year-old missed the side’s autumn campaign after breaking her leg in the opening round of the Premier 15s season in September but will start at inside centre in Edinburgh as England chase a fourth consecutive Six Nations championship win.
A victory in Scotland would also be the Red Roses’ 19th in a row, overtaking the record for most consecutive Test match wins set by England’s men in 2017.
Sarah Hunter will captain the side from No. 8 and will be joined in the back-row by Marlie Packer and Poppy Cleall.
Rosie Galligan returns to the side after a three-year absence to earn her second cap as lock alongside Abbie Ward, while Maud Muir starts her first Test for England as loosehead prop. Hooker Lark Davies and tighthead prop Sarah Bern complete the pack.
Helena Rowland starts at fly-half after Zoe Harrison picked up a minor injury in training and will link up with scrum-half Leanne Infante. Holly Aitchison will partner Scarratt in the centre.
Ellie Kildunne will start at fullback, with Heather Cowell and Abby Dow on the wings.
Prop Bryony Cleall is also set to make her return after missing the autumn internationals through injury. She has been named on the bench, alongside the uncapped Emma Sing.
“We’re really looking forward to this weekend’s opening game,” coach Simon Middleton said. “We have great strength-in-depth, the whole squad have trained well and it’s important we give players opportunities and at the same time look at a couple of new combinations.”
“We go into this year’s Six Nations with some clear objectives in terms of the improvements we are looking for in our performances. The players are crystal clear in terms of how we want to play and what we want our game to look like.”
“Playing Scotland in Scotland is one such occasion, we’re excited to take to the field at the DAM Health Stadium this Saturday.”
Ellie Kildunne, Heather Cowell, Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Abby Dow, Helena Rowland, Leanne Infante, Maud Muir, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Rosie Galligan, Abbie Ward, Poppy Cleall, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter
Replacements: Connie Powell, Vickii Cornborough, Bryony Cleall, Sarah Beckett, Alex Matthews, Lucy Packer, Amber Reed, Emma Sing