Mackenzie Carson to make England debut against Scotland

Sarah Hunter will be captaining England on her final game
Sarah Hunter will be captaining England on her final game

England coach Simon Middleton has announced the matchday squad for the Six Nations opener against Scotland to be played in Newcastle on Saturday.

Former Canada prop Mackenzie Carson will make her debut for the red roses on what will be the final game for Sarah Hunter, who will be retiring at the end of the game.

Carson, who played three Tests for Canada in 2018 qualified to play for England through her English mother will be part of the front row that also has Sarah Bern and Amy Cokayne.

With Rosie Galligan set to be miss the entire tournament, Zoe Aldcroft and Poppy Cleall will be part of the second row with Sadia Kabeya and Marlie Packer joining Hunter in back row. Liz Crake, Kelsey Clifford and Ella Wyrwas are set to make their England debut after being named amongst the replacements.

"There has been a brilliant atmosphere in camp and with a mix of new and experienced players, there is a real buzz. A number of players are in line to earn their first caps, and this is an excellent and deserved opportunity," said head coach Simon Middleton.

"This is a very new squad and they have been asked to train hard and learn fast over the last three weeks. This week we've really been able to see the cohesion starting to develop and we can't wait for the team to get out there on Saturday.

"Six Nations fixtures and games against Scotland are always special occasions and we know [Scotland head coach] Bryan (Easson) will have prepared his side well.

"All of our players and staff can't wait to get to the North East and play in front of a sell-out crowd where hopefully we can put on a show and get our Six Nations campaign up and running."

England XV: Dow; Breach, Tuima, Reed, MacDonald; Aitchison, Packer; Carson, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, P Cleall, Kabeya, Packer (co-capt), Hunter (co-capt).

Reserves: Davies, Crake, Clifford, O'Donnell, Beckett, Wyrwas, Heard, Sing.