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Marlie Packer will reach an impressive milestone as she earns her 100th cap for England, a phenomenal achievement.
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Marlie Packer will reach an impressive milestone as she earns her 100th cap for England, a phenomenal achievement.

On Sunday, Marlie Packer will reach a milestone as she plays her 100th game for England. She will also lead the Red Roses as they kick off their Six Nations campaign against Italy in Parma.

The 34-year-old back-row player will be the seventh female to achieve the feat for the England team, having been chosen by coach John Mitchell as one of the 23 players in the starting lineup for the first match.

Mitchell described the Saracens back-row player, who first played for the senior international team in 2008, as the perfect representation of what it means to be a member of the Red Rose team.

Mitchell commented on the impressive accomplishment of reaching 100 appearances for one’s national team. After speaking with Marlie about her experience, it became clear that she has faced challenges since her first Test debut. However, it is evident that her determination to excel has been a part of her for the past 16 years, contributing to her success in the sport.

Out of all the players in England’s team, only five have kept their positions from the 33-12 win against New Zealand in November for the first ever WXV1 championship. These players include Ellie Kildunne from Harlequins as the full-back, Abby Dow from Ealing Trailfinders as the wing, Helena Rowland from Loughborough as the centre, and Lark Atkin-Davies from Bristol as the hooker.

Zoe Harrison, Loughborough’s center Emily Scarratt, and Abbie Ward from Bristol are all back in the starting lineup for the first time since England’s loss to New Zealand (34-31) in the 2022 World Cup final.

Saracens’ Kelsey Clifford is on the verge of making her first start in a test match, while Exeter’s Maddie Feaunati may have her first appearance for England as a substitute. Following their absence in the WXV due to injuries, Loughborough’s Sadia Kabeya and Harlequins’ Lucy Packer will both be starting in the match against Italy.

England have lost only three of their last 60 Tests and after completing the Six Nations grand slam last year, they finished the 2023 season unbeaten.

Mitchell expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming tournament and our team’s desire to enhance our performance. We aim to increase our speed, apply more pressure on our opponents, and create more opportunities for attack. Our first chance to put these plans into action will come against Italy.

Source: theguardian.com