Emily Scarratt and Zoe Harrison set for Red Roses return as Women’s Six Nations squad named

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Emily Scarratt and Zoe Harrison are set to return to England rugby colours during the Women’s Six Nations after being recalled to John Mitchell’s squad after injury.

The pair missed most of 2023 with after respective neck and knee injuries, but have made promising comebacks at club level to earn inclusion in a 35-player group. The pair are in line to win their first caps since the World Cup final in 2022 alongside lock Abbie Ward, who returns after giving birth to a daughter last July.

Uncapped Exeter back row Maddie Feaunati, who also qualifies for New Zealand, is an eye-catching inclusion in the first official squad Mitchell has named since being appointed as Red Roses coach.

A squad otherwise containing few surprises sees fellow uncapped Chief Lizzie Hanlon called up to bolster the prop options in the absence of the injured Sarah Bern, but wing Claudia MacDonald will miss the tournament with a neck issue, opening the door for a call-up for Trailfinders’ Vicky Laflin.

Poppy Cleall is included despite being banned for the opening round fixture against Italy, with centre Amber Reed the sole contracted player left out. England captain Marlie Packer is in line to win her 100th cap when she makes her first appearance of the championship.

As reported in The Independent last week, Feaunati has been closely watched by the England set-up since joining Exeter at the start of the season but had returned to New Zealand to take up a contract with Hurricanes Poua in Super Rugby Aupiki.

Maddie Feaunati could also have played for the Black Ferns (Getty Images)
Maddie Feaunati could also have played for the Black Ferns (Getty Images)

However, Feaunati was convinced to come back to Susie Appleby’s side and now looks likely to push for an England debut having turned down the offer of a Black Ferns contract.

Born in Leeds, the 21-year-old is the daughter of Isaac Feaunati, who spent time with four English clubs during a distinguished playing career that saw him earn 13 caps for Samoa. He also portrayed Jonah Lomu in Invictus, the Academy Award-nominated 2009 film about South Africa’s 1995 World Cup triumph.

“I’ve been watching her for a while,” Mitchell said of the young flanker, who was first identified by former England captain Sarah Hunter, now a member of the Red Roses coaching staff. “I just saw this really naturally gifted, carrying footballer, who’s athletic and young. She can also be a very, very good lineout jumper.

“Exeter speak very highly of her. She’s also very committed to play for England. Once we had the right commitment, it was an easy process.”

Perhaps the most intriguing area of Mitchell’s selection is in midfield, where the fit-again Harrison and Scarratt provide a significant boost.

Holly Aitchison established herself as England’s first choice fly half in 2023 but has struggled for consistency since a summer move to Bristol, and Harrison’s kicking game is highly valued.

John Mitchell has plenty of midfield options (Getty Images)
John Mitchell has plenty of midfield options (Getty Images)

The versatile Helena Rowland, meanwhile, has thrived at ten for Loughborough after a mixed start to the season at outside centre, though is still seen as primarily a 13 option by her national head coach.

Meg Jones, meanwhile, has been one of the stars of the Premiership Women’s Rugby season in a struggling Leicester side and offers real X-factor, with the rock solid Tatyana Heard and Sydney Gregson - back in the mix for the first time in a long while after a horror run of injuries – also pushing for places.

Scarratt has spent most of her England career in the 13 shirt but is now seen as more of an inside centre. “She’s been away from the game a long time,” Mitchell said of the 34-year-old, who has won 108 caps.

“She is a triple threat. She possesses really good handling skills, she can take the ball close to the line, she can go through the line as well. We like to get our ball into our 12’s hands quite early. She could play that role very well and be a huge advantage for us.”

Red Roses’ 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations Squad


Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 48 caps)

Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears, 54 caps)

Sarah Beckett (Gloucester-Hartpury, 34 caps)

Hannah Botterman (Bristol Bears, 42 caps)

Mackenzie Carson (Gloucester-Hartpury, 10 caps)

Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 65 caps)

Kelsey Clifford (Saracens, 3 caps)

Amy Cokayne (Leicester Tigers, 72 caps)

Maddie Feaunati (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)

Rosie Galligan (Saracens, 14 caps)

Lizzie Hanlon (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)

Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning, 13 caps)

Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury, 62 caps)

Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury, 25 caps)

Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 30 caps)

Marlie Packer (Saracens, 99 caps)

Connie Powell (Harlequins, 14 caps)

Morwenna Talling (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)

Abbie Ward (Bristol Bears, 61 caps)


Holly Aitchison (Bristol Bears, 25 caps)

Sophie Bridger (Saracens, 2 caps)

Jess Breach (Saracens, 33 caps)

Abby Dow (Trailfinders Women, 40 caps)

Sydney Gregson (Saracens, 3 caps)

Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 46 caps)

Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 18 caps)

Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 67 caps)

Megan Jones (Leicester Tigers, 16 caps)

Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins, 38 caps)

Vicky Laflin (Trailfinders Women, uncapped)

Lucy Packer (Harlequins, 16 caps)

Helena Rowland (Loughborough Lightning, 28 caps)

Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 108 caps)

Emma Sing (Gloucester-Hartpury, 6 caps)

Ella Wyrwas (Saracens, 6 caps)

Unavailable for the Guinness Women’s Six Nations due to injury:

Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears, 61 caps)

Claudia MacDonald (Exeter Chiefs, 32 caps)

Nancy McGillivray (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)

Uncapped Exeter wing Katie Buchanan is currently injured but could return during the Six Nations window, while Maisy Allen, Delaney Burns, Lilli Ives Campion and Liz Crake will come into camp as cover for the week.