- Spencer captained England in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup
- The flanker won 63 caps for her country, scoring 18 tries
- Buy tickets to see Ireland Women v England here
The Red Roses face Ireland on Friday night at Donnybrook Stadium (kick-off 8.10pm, live on EnglandRugby.com) in a Grand Slam decider for the Women’s Six Nations title.
England lead the 2017 Women’s Six Nations table by one point following wins against France (26-13), Wales (0-63), Italy (29-15) and Scotland (64-0), ahead of Ireland who also head into the final match unbeaten.
Former England captain Catherine Spencer picks three players from the Red Roses squad she believes will be crucial to their chances in Friday's clash.
DANIELLE WATERMAN, FULL BACK, 67 CAPS (BRISTOL)
“Danielle, who is known among the squad as 'Nolli', is a tremendous player. She’s still going strong having gained her first cap in 2003 and so we played together for a number of seasons . In fact I can’t believe I’ve got this far in the Six Nations and not mentioned her."She can attack from anywhere on the pitch and has a good rugby brain."
She has developed incredibly well at full back. When Nolli first started in the team she played in the half-backs and in the centres. It seems as though she’s found her true calling at full back, and it’s the perfect position for her because she has the confidence to do what she wants. Her counter-attacking is devastating and her feet are so quick that she can punch holes through the opposition defence.
“Nolli will be the first to admit she has struggled with a number of injuries over the years but she’s fit, strong and riding high with confidence. She is such a dangerous player because the opposition aren’t sure what she’s going to do. Her record in the Six Nations of 25 tries in 25 matches reflects how dangerous she is.”
AMBER REED, CENTRE, 36 CAPS (BRISTOL)
“Amber has become a consistent and solid player for the Red Roses and is now one of the first names on the team sheet. She first came to the fore in an England shirt at fly half when several players were away through sevens in the run up to the Rio Olympics. She has the ability to play in the 10 or 12 shirt and has a sense of composure beyond her years.
“Amber has a great boot on her and having a kicker at 10 and 12 is really important in this day and age. It takes pressure off the fly half and Emily Scott will be happy to have Amber there at inside centre. She has a really strong pass too and we saw this in her assist to one of Kay Wilson’s seven tries against Scotland with a terrific pass off her right hand. Being able to get the ball out wide quickly is a huge plus to have with the Red Roses’ back three in such good form."
ROCHELLE CLARK, PROP, 121 CAPS (WORCESTER VALKYRIES)
“A bit like Nolli, I can’t believe it’s taken this long for me to mention 'Rocky'. She’s been in the limelight recently with her record-breaking achievements and she now has an incredible 121 international caps. I would always have her in my squad with her presence on the pitch and the ability to lift players.
“In a big game like this, it’s vitally important to have players like Rocky who has the experience of playing in three World Cup finals. The Red Roses have a good mix of youth and experience and it’s working well. "The experience of the likes of Rocky and Tamara Taylor will be crucial."
“Aside from a slow start in the first half against France, the Red Roses have been in control this Six Nations, but Ireland are one of those teams that always play well against England. We can expect a big game from them on Friday evening, so Rocky’s experience and composure will be vitally important if Ireland get off to a good start and the game is tight.”
“England haven’t been in this position for a while and the experience of a Grand Slam decider will be unique for some players. The experience of the likes of Rocky and Tamara Taylor will be crucial.
“If the Red Roses can get outside the Ireland centres they can exploit some gaps out wide. Ireland are a quality side and their flanker Claire Molloy will want to get into every ruck and disrupt England ball. If England’s back row can thwart her then they’ll do well in this match. Teams can’t compete with the Red Roses at the moment when they get quick ball and move it out wide to their backs.
“Ireland will be so motivated for this clash, it’s an opportunity to show their potential on St Patrick’s Day leading up to a World Cup on home soil. They will give it a good go but I think England will be too good and they could win by a decent margin.”