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England dropping of Sarah Hunter for France final shows ruthless intent

Decision to leave captain out of Women’s Six Nations final raised eyebrows as Simon Middleton demands intensity

England know they have to show a ruthlessness that has sometimes been lacking if they are to beat France in the Women’s Six Nations final at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday afternoon.

Off the pitch, that ruthlessness has already been demonstrated in the eyebrow-raising decision to leave their captain, Sarah Hunter, on the bench for her 125th international. The head coach, Simon Middleton, has left the No 8 out of the starting lineup despite the 35-year-old having battled back from a career-threatening injury to lead the side to their 67-3 win over the Italians in Parma a fortnight ago.

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