ENGLAND Women are set to play in front of a record crowd when they take on Italy at Exeter Chiefs’ Sandy Park on Saturday (12.05pm).

Already more than 9,000 tickets have been sold for the Six Nations match. That is record for a home fixture outside of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

England players Marlie Packer and Lagi Tuima attended a special event to promote the match at Sandy Park where they met local clubs, universities, colleges and officials from Exeter City Council.

Somerset-born Packer said: “Being from the West Country, having the opportunity for the Red Roses to play to a home crowd in Exeter this Six Nations is hugely exciting.

“I know first-hand how much people love their rugby in this part of the world but taking the Red Roses across the country is also about trying to grow interest in women’s rugby, and that’s exactly what we’re hoping to do by playing here.

“The fact that we’ve already hit a record in terms of number of tickets sold to a Red Roses’ home game is amazing and it would be even better to see as many people come along to support us as possible.”

Bristol Bears’ player Tuima, who is just coming back from injury, said: “It’s so important that we continue to drive interest in the women’s game from grassroots right the way up to the professional level.”

The Exeter University student, who started her career at Devonport Services and also played for Plymouth Albion, added: “As the Red Roses we have the responsibility to act as role models for women and girls who are looking to get into rugby and hopefully by bringing the women’s game to Exeter and other parts of the country we can do our bit in getting more people involved.”

With three wins from three in this year’s Women’s Six Nations tournament, England are currently sit top of the table with Italy ranked second.

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