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Women's Six Nations 2024: Marlie Packer to win 100th cap in England's opener against Italy

Women's Six Nations: Italy v England

Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma Date: Sunday, 24 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and online; text commentary, highlights and report on BBC Sport website and app.

Captain Marlie Packer will win her 100th cap in England's opening game of the Women's Six Nations against Italy on Sunday.

The 34-year-old flanker debuted for the Red Roses in 2008 and becomes the seventh woman to reach the milestone.

Fly-half Zoe Harrison, centre Emily Scarratt and lock Abbie Ward all return to the starting XV.

The trio have not played for England since the World Cup final defeat by New Zealand in 2022.

Loughborough Lightning's Scarratt starts in the unfamiliar role of inside centre despite spending the majority of her 108-cap international career at 13.

Scarratt played at inside centre for Lightning last month following her return from a 13-month injury lay-off with a neck injury which required surgery.

Bristol Bears' Ward returns to international rugby for the first time after the birth of her daughter last year, with Saracens' Harrison recovering from her lengthy ACL injury in time for the Six Nations.

The Red Roses won a Six Nations Grand Slam last year and are aiming to win their sixth Six Nations title in a row.

"Talking to Marlie about her journey, she has had to overcome adversity since her Test debut in 2008," Red Roses head coach John Mitchell said.

"What has been evident since I first met her is her determination to succeed has been ingrained in her over the past 16 years, helping her achieve she has in the game.

"She epitomises what it is to be a Red Rose."

Flanker Sadia Kabeya and scrum-half Lucy Packer are also named in the starting XV after missing the inaugural WXV1 tournament in New Zealand, which England won in November to partially avenge their World Cup final defeat.

Exeter Chiefs back rower Maddie Feaunati, 21, could make her Red Roses debut after being named on the bench.

"We are excited to get going in what is an awesome tournament," Mitchell added "Italy is our first opportunity to put into practice what we are aiming to achieve."

Line-up

England: Kildunne; Dow, Rowland, Scarratt, Breach; Harrison, Packer; Botterman, Atkin-Davies, Clifford, Aldcroft, Ward, Kabeya, Packer, Beckett.

Replacements: Powell, Carson, Muir, Feaunati, Matthews, Hunt, Aitchison, Jones.