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Women’s Six Nations 2024: England star Emily Scarratt ‘needs time to find feet’ after long absence

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Venue: Ashton Gate, Bristol Dates: Saturday, 30 March Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and online; text commentary, highlights and report on BBC Sport website and app.

England centre Emily Scarratt needs more time to get up to speed with the international game, says former team-mate Katy Daley-McLean.

Scarratt, 34, returned to rugby in February following neck surgery and on Sunday played her first England match since the World Cup final in 2022.

She made errors in England’s 48-0 Women’s Six Nations win over Italy and was replaced after 51 minutes.

“The pace of the game was different. It was a bit quicker,” said Daley-McLean.

Scarratt, World Player of the Year in 2019, has only played a handful games for Loughborough Lightning since recovering from disc replacement surgery.

“She’s a very talented rugby player but she will be disappointed with some of her moments,” Daley-McLean told the BBC’s Rugby Union Daily podcast.

“There was a pass she threw forward straight into touch, a kick she put out.

“She hasn’t been in camp training as much as the rest of the girls. These are all things you’ve got to take into account.”

Red Roses head coach John Mitchell played Scarratt at inside centre instead of outside centre, where she has won the majority of her 109 caps.

Mitchell also paired Scarratt with Loughborough team-mate Helena Rowland in a new-looked centre partnership, while fly-half Zoe Harrison made her return after a knee injury ruled her out of the 2023 international season.

England’s attack looked slicker after Holly Aitchison came on for Scarratt and Natasha Hunt took over from Lucy Packer at scrum-half, although Italy’s players had started to tire.

Aitchison also took on the goal-kicking duties from the struggling Harrison, as 14-player England ran in eight tries in Parma.

“I think at the moment we’ve got to give them a bit of time to find their feet again,” said Daley-McLean.

Former England flanker Maggie Alphonsi said Scarratt is “not a typical 12”.

“The best thing about England is they’ve got Amber Reed who can slot in at 12 and give you another 10 almost,” said Alphonsi. “And you’ve got Tatyana Heard who can give you that crashing up sort of 12.

“I guess what Mitchell wants is a variety of options so we have different attacking plays. That makes England a little bit more unpredictable.”

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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief

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Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”

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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang

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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.

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