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Your News Spencer backs England changes

England Women's captain Catherine Spencer believes the changes made to England's line-up for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy will highlight the strength in depth the national side have.

England Head Coach Gary Street has made seven changes to the 22 in a bid to give as many of his players the chance the shine ahead of the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup in London.

Team Northumbria prop Rochelle Clark will start her first game since last summer's Nations Cup after an impressive return from the bench during England's 31-0 defeat of Wales at the weekend.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks' Tamara Taylor will also start while Lichfield's Jane Leonard is promoted to the starting line-up after a good outing for England A at the weekend. Richmond's Alice Richardson has also been given the nod to start at fly half alongside Wasps wing Michaela Staniford.

On the bench Street has called up Fran Matthews and Amber Penrith who were both involved in England A's first win over the Nomads in three years on Sunday.

"Rochelle and Alice both played well when they came on against Wales and I'm sure they will again make a positive impact when they take their starting shirts in Italy," said Spencer, whose side are targeting a record breaking fifth consecutive crown.

"Jane, Fran and Amber all performed well in the A's fixture against the Nomads on Sunday and Gary has recognised this with their selection. I'm excited to see how they go and I'm sure that everyone will be chomping at the bit to stake their claim in the senior squad once more."

England last clashed with Italy in the Six Nations a year ago and triumphed with a 69-13 victory. Last weekend Italy faired better only losing 22-5 to Ireland.

Spencer added: "We are really pleased with the start we've made with our win over Wales. Italy had a fairly narrow defeat to Ireland in the opening game so we know this will be a tough encounter. We are also playing in an unfamiliar stadium in Parma so will need to certainly keep our wits about us to ensure that we return home with another victory."

England kick off against Italy at 130pm GMT at the Noceto Stadium in Parma, Italy.

The 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup kicks off on August 20th at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, with the semi finals and final being held at the Stoop in September.

England

15 Claire Allan Richmond

14 Michaela Staniford Wasps

13 Emily Scarratt Lichfield

12 Rachael Burford Richmond

11 Fiona Pocock Richmond

10 Alice Richardson Richmond

9 La Toya Mason Wasps

1 Rochelle Clark Team Northumbria

2 Amy Garnett Saracens

3 Claire Purdy Wasps

4 Rebecca Essex Richmond

5 Tamara Taylor Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

6 Heather Fisher Worcester

7 Jane Leonard Lichfield

8 Catherine Spencer (C) Bristol

Replacements:

16 Samantha Reeve Worcester

17 Sophie Hemming Bristol

18 Joanna McGilchrist Wasps

19 Margaret Alphonsi Saracens

20 Katy Mclean Darlington Mowden Park Sharks

21 Francesca Matthews Richmond

22 Amber Penrith Bristol

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