Hunt returns to England fray as Middleton names Red Roses training squad for TikTok Six Nations

Natasha Hunt is among a host of high-flying Gloucester-Hartpury players selected by Simon Middleton
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Outgoing England Women head coach Simon Middleton has named a 42-player training squad for the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

Among a host of changes to the side that finished as runners-up in the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Gloucester-Hartpury scrum-half Natasha Hunt has been recalled to the squad.

Hunt is joined by a host of clubmates from Gloucester-Hartpury, the West Country club enjoying their best Allianz Premier 15s season to date and are currently second in the competition.

Among those from Sean Lynn’s side selected are Zoe Aldcroft, Alex Matthews, Maud Muir and Connie Powell who all played at last year’s Rugby World Cup, while Sarah Beckett and Emma Sing have been recalled, while back three player Ellie Rugman earns a call-up.

Bristol Bears back Amber Reed returns to the squad having missed out on the World Cup too, as does Harlequins prop Bryony Cleall and Poppy Leitch looks to add her collection of caps having last appeared for England in 2019.

There is also a significant change in leadership as Sarah Hunter will co-captain the Red Roses alongside Saracens flanker Marlie Packer. This comes after Hunter made it clear to Middleton that she will not be involved in the 2025 World Cup being played on home soil.

“Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer will co-captain the squad,” Middleton said. “Sarah has made it clear she will not be involved in the 2025 World Cup as a player, so it’s essential we look to continue to grow our leadership quality and depth. 

“Marlie is already an integral part of our leadership group, so this is a natural progression for her to co-captain the side and continue to develop her leadership skills.”

In addition to this, the unavailable duo of Emily Scarratt and Abbie Ward will both contribute to the team’s preparations. Scarratt is missing with a neck and ankle injury, while Ward is pregnant, the vastly experienced duo on hand to lend their years of experience to a squad littered with new faces.

Uncapped players include May Campbell, Kelsey Clifford, Liz Crake, Emily Robinson, Hannah Sims, Elizabeth Duffy, Nancy McGillivray and Ella Wyrwas. Coming into this Six Nations, England are in the middle of a something of an injury crisis.

With Zoe Harrison having injured her anterior cruciate ligament and Helena Rowland expected to miss much of the Six Nations, despite having been named by Middleton in his 42-player squad, it seems as though it is Holly Aitchison that will pull the strings at fly-half.

In addition to this, with Shaunagh Brown’s retirement, Vickii Cornboroush missing due to personal reasons and Hannah Botterman’s knee injury, England are light in the front-row too and have called in Hannah Sims, Liz Crake and Kelsey Clifford to compete for a potentially pivotal slot in the matchday 23 this upcoming campaign.

England Women Training Squad


Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 38 caps), Sarah Beckett (Gloucester-Hartpury, 25 caps), Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 52 caps), May Campbell (Saracens, uncapped), Bryony Cleall (Harlequins, 7 caps), Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 63 caps), Kelsey Clifford (Saracens, uncapped), Amy Cokayne (Harlequins, 70 caps), Liz Crake (Wasps, uncapped), Lark Davies (Bristol Bears, 44 caps), Rosie Galligan (Harlequins, 9 caps), Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning, 5 caps), Sarah Hunter (CC; Loughborough Lightning, 140 caps), Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 8 caps), Poppy Leitch (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps), Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 56 caps), Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 17 caps), Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 24 caps), Marlie Packer (CC; Saracens, 89 caps), Connie Powell (Gloucester-Hartpury, 7 caps), Emily Robinson (Harlequins, uncapped), Hannah Sims (Harlequins, uncapped), Morwenna Talling (Loughborough Lightning, 5 caps)


Holly Aitchison (Saracens, 15 caps), Jess Breach (Saracens, 24 caps), Abby Dow (Harlequins, 30 caps), Elizabeth Duffy (Sale Sharks, uncapped), Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 9 caps), Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 60 caps), Leanne Infante (Saracens, 57 caps), Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 31 caps),Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs, 24 caps), Nancy McGillivray (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped), Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 43 caps), Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 9 caps), Amber Reed (Bristol Bears, 62 caps), Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 22 caps), Ellie Rugman (Gloucester-Hartpury, uncapped), Emma Sing (Gloucester-Hartpury, 2 caps), Lydia Thompson (Worcester Warriors, 58 caps), Lagi Tuima (Harlequins, 12 caps), Ella Wyrwas (Saracens, uncapped)