‘An awesome achievement’: Marlie Packer to win 100th cap for England

On Sunday, Marlie Packer is set to mark her 100th appearance for England as she leads the Red Roses against Italy in their Six Nations opener in Parma.

At 34 years old, Packer, a seasoned flanker, joins an elite group of women who have achieved this milestone for England. Her selection in coach John Mitchell’s 23-player lineup underscores her significance to the team.

Mitchell praised Packer, noting that she embodies the spirit of the Red Roses. He highlighted her journey, emphasizing her resilience and determination since her debut in 2008.

Packer is among the select few retaining their starting positions from England’s previous victory over New Zealand. Joining her are stalwarts like Ellie Kildunne, Abby Dow, Helena Rowland, and Lark Atkin-Davies.

The lineup sees the return of key players like Zoe Harrison, Emily Scarratt, and Abbie Ward, injecting further strength into the team. Exciting prospects like Kelsey Clifford and Maddie Feaunati add depth, with Sadia Kabeya and Lucy Packer also making notable returns from injury.

England enters the tournament with a formidable record, having lost only three of their last 60 Tests. Following their Six Nations Grand Slam triumph last year, they remain unbeaten in the 2023 season.

Mitchell expressed the team’s eagerness to kick off the tournament, emphasizing their focus on enhancing performance. He outlined their goals of accelerating their game, applying greater pressure on opponents, and seizing attacking opportunities. The clash with Italy presents their initial chance to put these ambitions into action.