Squad mix benefiting Red Roses - Dow

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Red Roses wing Abigail Dow says the blend of experience and newer faces will benefit England throughout the Six Nations campaign in 2018.

England opened the defence of their title with a bonus-point 42-7 victory in Italy, with captain Sarah Hunter scoring a hat-trick.

The age range in the squad varies from the likes of Rochelle Clark and Tamara Taylor (both 36) to Dow (20) and Ellie Kildunne (18), and Dow, who was one of five different try scorers on the night, says they are getting the right mix.

"It's definitely new and exciting and it's really good as the team actually helps you get through," she said.

"There's a great blend of old and new girls and it's working out for us well in camp and on the pitch.

"For players like me who are new, the balance is perfect. If it was a completely new squad you'd see the rawness of the team but with people like Nolli (Danielle Waterman), especially for me in the back three, they just solidify what I need to do and it helps me perform." 

England persistence

England head coach Simon Middleton spoke about how small changes at half-time improved the side, as they went from a being tied at 7-7 to running in 35 unanswered second-half points.

Dow, who now has six tries in her first three caps following her score against the Italians, believes their clinical edge showed in the final scoreline.

"It was a bit stressful as the Italians bring chaos to the game and we prefer our structure.

"We wanted to be ready for it but we didn't quite get there in the first half, but I think we solidified what we wanted in the second half which shows in the score."

With a Grand Slam achieved last season and just one defeat in the whole of 2017, England have set their standards and Dow says they are all aware of expectations.

"I think the bar is always going to be set high as we always want to achieve.

"There is that pressure of knowing where England stand in the rankings but I think we just go out and play each game, we really just focus on each game as it comes."

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