Match Preview


England v Scotland pic
The Guinness Women’s Six Nations returns to Twickenham as the Red Roses look to move one step closer to a Grand Slam against a rejuvenated Ireland side.

A year ago, England defeated France in front of a world record crowd at the ground and they have not looked back since, winning three out of three in this year’s Championship.

Now they play host to Ireland, who recorded their first win of the campaign in emphatic fashion in Round 3, beating Wales 36-5 to move up to third in the table.

Backing that up with a win at Twickenham would be asking a lot, but coach Scott Bemand will no doubt have a few tricks up his sleeve, having been part of the England set-up in that Grand Slam campaign a year ago.

If they are to challenge England, they will need to find a way through a rock solid defence. John Mitchell has previously served as a defence coach for a number of teams, and it is clearly a big part of what he aims to install as Red Roses head coach.

They have conceded just ten points across three games so far, twice holding their opposition scoreless.

Ireland have the third-best attack in the competition so far, but they know that they will need to get even better to break down England.


Mitchell has made two changes from the side that triumphed 46-0 away to Scotland, both coming in the pack.

Lark Atkin-Davies returns at hooker in place of the suspended Amy Cokayne, while Marlie Packer is back in the starting line-up, captaining the side from openside flanker.

That sees Zoe Aldcroft shift to the second row, Sadia Kabeya move to blindside and Abbie Ward drop out of the side.

There is also a return on the bench for Emily Scarratt, who had not featured since the opening game in Italy.

Ireland have also made two changes, with Hannah O’Connor coming into the side in the second row in place of Sam Monaghan.

The other switch is in the backline where Aoife Dalton is back at inside centre in place of Enya Breen.On the bench, Meabh Deely gets her chance as outside back cover.


England head coach John Mitchell: “We are excited for the opportunity of another crack at Twickenham in front of our awesome fans. We want to continue to get better in our game and make the most of the experience to benefit us in the future.”

Ireland head coach Scott Bemand: “We get another chance to perform as a group, in a great stadium with a big crowd. We are building some momentum in training and games. This is the kind of test we want, against the best out there. We want these occasions to be the norm and our players are excited by the opportunity in front of them.

"Judging by training intent and competition for selection, the players are ready. Hopefully we’ll see a wave of green around the stadium that will continue to get behind our group, each and every opportunity they have.”

KEY BATTLE – Sadia Kabeya v Aoife Wafer

The battle of the blindside will pit two of the most exciting young back-row talents in the game against one another.

Sadia Kabeya has shown her versatility by playing on both flanks so far in this campaign, and there are few who can match what she provides on both sides of the ball.

But Ireland have a similarly versatile option of their own in Aoife Wafer, Player of the Round for the second week running after her display against Wales.

Capable of playing at No.8 or blindside, Wafer’s carrying is a huge part of what Ireland are trying to do against the watertight English defence, it will be more important than ever.


England have won 19 of their previous 21 matches against Ireland in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations (L2), including all 11 of their encounters on English soil – the Red Roses have held Ireland scoreless in each of their three meetings in the Championship.

England have won each of their last 27 Guinness Women’s Six Nations matches, the longest-ever winning run by any side in the history of the men’s or women’s Championships.

Ireland won their most recent Guinness Women’s Six Nations match (36-5 v Wales) after losing seven in a row previously. Their 31-point margin of victory was their largest in the Championship since 2021.

Ellie Kildunne has already scored six tries in this year’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations – three times as many as any other player having scored a brace in each of England’s three games so far.

Ireland’s Neve Jones has been successful with each of her 43 tackle attempts in this year’s Championship, no other player has attempted more than 20 tackles without missing one. Her teammate Linda Djougang has made twice as many dominant tackles as any other player (14).


Given her try-scoring exploits, it should come as no surprise that Ellie Kildunne is the top-scoring fantasy player in this year’s Championship, as the only person averaging more than 50 points per game.

At 20.4 stars, she is the most expensive player but has proved to be worth that outlay. It is tricky to find value players for England, but at 11.8 stars, Rosie Galligan has overperformed her value to date, averaging 31 points a game.

For Ireland, Aoife Wafer is still available for just 14.5 points, despite being the second highest scorer after Kildunne. Neve Jones is the most expensive Ireland player at 17.3 stars, but in a game where Ireland will likely have to do a lot of defending, she feels like a safe bet to rack up the tackles and therefore points.


England: 15 Ellie Kildunne, 14 Abby Dow, 13 Megan Jones, 12 Tatyana Heard, 11 Jess Breach, 10 Holly Aitchison, 9 Natasha Hunt; 1 Hannah Botterman, 2 Lark Atkin-Davies, 3 Maud Muir, 4 Zoe Aldcroft, 5 Rosie Galligan, 6 Sadia Kabeya, 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Alex Matthews

Replacements: 16 Connie Powell, 17 Mackenzie Carson, 18 Kelsey Clifford, 19 Morwenna Talling, 20 Maddie Feaunati, 21 Lucy Packer, 22 Emily Scarratt, 23 Sydney Gregson

Ireland: 15 Lauren Delany; 14 Katie Corrigan, 13 Eve Higgins, 12 Aoife Dalton, 11 Béibhinn Parsons, 10 Dannah O'Brien, 9 Aoibheann Reilly; 1 Linda Djougang, 2 Neve Jones, 3 Christy Haney, 4 Dorothy Wall, 5 Hannah O’Connor, 6 Aoife Wafer, 7 Edel McMahon (c), 8 Brittany Hogan.

Replacements: 16 Clíodhna Moloney, 17 Niamh O'Dowd, 18 Sadhbh McGrath, 19 Fiona Tuite, 20 Shannon Ikahihifo, 21 Molly Scuffil-McCabe, 22 Enya Breen, 23 Meabh Deely.