The 2023 TikTok Women's Six Nations will be the last dance for several icons of English rugby. 

Head coach Simon Middleton will move on at the end of the Championship, while inspirational co-captain Sarah Hunter will hang up her boots after England's opener against Scotland in her home town of Newcastle. 

Their teammates and fans will want to give the two legendary figures the best possible swansong, but to do that, they will need to win their fifth Championship in a row.

England have been the dominant force in the Six Nations since 2018, winning the Grand Slam in four of the last five years, and it could have been even better were it not for a reformatted Championship in 2021. 

The Red Roses have it all to play for but with their opponents improving all the time, it won't be an easy ride for the Middleton's side. 

Coach - Simon Middleton

After eight years at the helm, four Grand Slams and back-to-back World Cup finals, Middleton will step down after this year's TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

But rather than turning the 2023 TikTok Women's Six Nations into England's greatest hits, Middleton is laying the groundwork for an exciting new England side, with nine uncapped players in the squad.

Not only is that going to give the Red Roses their best possible shot at another Grand Slam, but it will also give Middleton's successor the best possible chance to excel in their new role.

Captains - Sarah Hunter and Marlie Packer

Hunter deserves to go out in style, and as final games go, it does not get much better than co-captaining England against Scotland in your home town. 

The back-row star will start at No.8 in Round 1, and she will be joined in the back row by fellow co-captain Marlie Packer. 

The 89-cap international has no shortage of TikTok Women's Six Nations experience herself, having been part of the Red Roses set-up since 2008. 

Like Hunter, she won the Rugby World Cup in 2014 and was also part of the sides that fell to New Zealand in 2017 and 2021. 

Star player – Alex Matthews

Hunter and Packer bring steel and experience to this England side and Alex Matthews brings an extra sprinkling of world-class quality.

Undeniably one of the best players in the world over the last 12 months, Matthews was superb at the World Cup, starting at six in the final. 

She was rewarded with a spot on the shortlist for the World Rugby Player of the Year for 2022, and although she missed out to Ruahei Demant, she is the only nominee competing in this year's Championship.

England's squad is crammed with star quality, World Cup winners and one-of-a-kind talents, but even among such illustrious company, Matthews stands out above the rest. 

Breakthrough candidate – Ellie Rugman

After years of impressing in the Allianz Premier 15s, winger Ellie Rugman has finally been given a chance to show what she can do on the international stage. 

The uncapped Gloucester-Hartpury star has already crossed the whitewash 11 times so far this season for her club, and she is also the second-highest overall points scorer in Premier15s history – some achievement for a player who only started playing the sport in her early twenties. 

She won't feature against Scotland but her time will come and when it does, fans can expect to see her score for fun. 

2022 performance 

England stormed to their 16th Grand Slam last year. 

It all started at the DAM Health Stadium, where the Red Roses ran out 57-7 winners against Scotland. 

The Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma was the next stop for Middleton's side and Lydia Thompson’s treble helped them on their way to a 74-0 triumph. 

England recorded another convincing victory in their first home game of the Championship at Kingsholm Stadium, beating Wales 58-5. 

They then hosted Ireland at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium where they were 69-0 winners. 

And the Red Roses sealed the Grand Slam with a closely-fought 24-12 win against France in Bayonne. 


England had a head start on their TikTok Women's Six Nations rivals due to the early introduction of professional contracts. 

Now it's a level playing field and the Championship has the potential to be the closest it has been in years. 

However, the expectation will still be for England to send Hunter and Middleton off in style, retaining the Championship and the Grand Slam.

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