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England women make four changes for Six Nations finale against Ireland

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    England’s women are ranked second in the world
    2018 Women’s Six Nations: England v Ireland
    Venue: Ricoh Arena Date: Friday 16 March Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
    Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England women’s head coach Simon Middleton has made four changes to his starting XV for the final Six Nations match against Ireland on Friday.

    Wing Kelly Smith gets her first start, as does Caity Mattinson in place of Leanne Riley at scrum-half. Lagi Tuima and Rowena Burnfield also come in.

    England were defeated 18-17 by France in Stade des Alpes on Saturday night.

    England have to beat Ireland and hope leaders France lose against Wales if they are to retain the title.

    Last-gasp try gives France win over England

    “We fully expect the game against Ireland to be a tough yet exciting encounter,” Middleton said. “They are a dangerous side who will be looking to bounce back after their defeat by Scotland last week.”

    “We have made changes across the starting 15, with new combinations in the forwards and the backs. The players coming in will relish the opportunity to showcase their talents in the Six Nations.

    “We are determined to come away with the win on Friday night.”

    Wasps winger Abigail Dow was unavailable for selection after being ruled out with concussion on Saturday night.

    The Red Roses last faced Ireland in the 2017 Six Nations at Donnybrook Stadium, where they secured a 34-7 win.

    England: Kildunne, Smith, Tuima, Burford, Waterman, Daley-Mclean, Mattinson; Cornborough, Cokayne, Sarah Bern, Scott, Cleall, Burnfield, Packer, Hunter

    Replacements: Davies, Clark, Lucas, O’Donnell, Brown, Riley, Harrison, Reed

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