Aldcroft to captain England against Scotland

Rugby

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Zoe Aldcroft holding hands with two mascots
Venue: Hive Stadium, Edinburgh Dates: Saturday, 13 April Kick-off: 14:15 BST
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and online; text commentary, highlights and report on BBC Sport website and app

Zoe Aldcroft will captain England in their Women’s Six Nations game against Scotland on Saturday, with regular skipper Marlie Packer named on the bench.

The 27-year-old, who won her 50th cap in England’s victory over Wales, moves from lock to blind-side flanker.

Centre Emily Scarratt is managing a calf injury and misses out again.

Lock Abbie Ward comes back into the second row, as one of two changes to John Mitchell’s side.

Hooker Amy Cokayne also returns to start her first Red Roses game in a year, with Lark Atkin-Davies dropping out of the squad.

The Leicester Tiger, who was England’s starting hooker at the World Cup in 2022, scored two tries against Scotland in last year’s Six Nations, but has been missing because of a calf injury.

Mitchell names an unchanged backline from the victory over Wales, meaning there is no return for Scarratt, who started in the opening victory over Italy in what was her first game for England in 13 months following neck surgery.

“Emily is progressing nicely – she still hasn’t been able to do a full week,” Mitchell said. “She’s come out of Tuesday’s session well, so that’s a really good sign.

“The most important message you need to hear is that Emily needs to be 100% fit because we have got girls who are 100% fit and that’s what we go for basically.”

Saracens forward Poppy Cleall was ruled out of the fixture after sustaining a knee injury in training on Tuesday. The 31-year-old was banned for England’s opening game after admitting to using foul language in the Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR).

The Red Roses won a Six Nations Grand Slam last year and remain on course to clinch their sixth Six Nations title in a row.

“There’s no such thing as rotation, this squad is selected for Scotland. Anyone is capable of replacing anyone, as far as I see it,” Mitchell added.

Scotland recorded their first victory on Welsh soil for 20 years in Cardiff in their opening game before a narrow defeat by France in Edinburgh.

The match will be a sell-outexternal-link at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh and set a Scotland women’s home record crowd of 7,774.

Line-ups

England: Kildunne; Dow, Jones, Heard, Breach; Aitchison, Hunt; Botterman, Cokayne, Muir, Galligan, Ward, Aldcroft (capt), Kabeya, Matthews.

Replacements: Powell, Carson, Clifford, Feaunati, M Packer, L Packer, Harrison, Gregson.

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