Plymouth’s Tuima returns to England starting XV for Six Nations match with Ireland

PLYMOUTH rugby player Lagi Tuima will make her second Six Nations start on Friday when she lines up for England against Ireland in Coventry (5.30pm).

The former Devonport Services junior had previously started against Scotland and scored a try in a 43-8 win, but she was only on the bench last weekend when England narrowly lost 18-17 away to France.

Following that defeat, head coach Simon Middleton has made four changes to the starting XV, with 19-year-old Tuima coming in at outside centre. Her Exeter University colleague Caity Mattinson also comes into the team for her first start at scrum-half.

Former Marjon student Rochelle Clark, who is England’s most capped player, is again named on the bench.

Middleton said: “We fully expect the game against Ireland to be a tough, yet exciting encounter. They are a dangerous side, who will be looking to bounce back after their defeat by Scotland last week.

“We are really looking forward to playing them at the Ricoh on Friday night in front of a bumper crowd.

“We have made changes across the starting 15, with new combinations in the forwards and the backs. We have depth in the EPS squad and are confident that the players coming in will relish the opportunity to showcase their talents in the Six Nations, one of the flagship competitions in the women’s game. We are determined to come away with the win on Friday night.”

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