Gary Street's side went down 14-5 to France in an uncapped friendly in Marseille on Wednesday after scores from lock Assa Koita and a penalty try eclipsed Lydia Thompson's first-half effort.
The selection of Matthews, sister of England wing Francesca, is one of nine changes, two positional, to the side who were defeated at the Jean Bouin Stadium.
Additionally Saracens' Hannah Gallagher, Lichfield's Harriet Millar-Mills, Bristol's Isobel Noel-Smith and Worcester's Ceri Large could all win their first caps off the bench in Chateaurenard.
And after seeing his side suffer an uncharacteristic defeat, head coach Street admits he expects a response from England.
"This is the strongest starting XV we can select from this squad and we will be expecting another tough and extremely physical test against a very motivated French team," he said.
"We learnt some valuable lessons from Wednesday's match and some of the players really excelled so they will have another opportunity to show what they can do on Saturday.
"Alex had an outstanding game on Wednesday and I am really excited about her ball carrying skills and defensive qualities that she brings to our game."
Englandalso welcome back Emily Scarratt, Georgina Roberts and La Toya Mason to the starting line-up.
"We also have four uncapped players on the bench and they have brought energy into this squad," added Street.
"With this being our last game ahead of the three autumn international tests against world champions New Zealand this is a huge opportunity for all our players to step up and show what they can do."
15 Kay Wilson(Bristol)
14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
12 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
10 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol)
9 La Toya Mason (Wasps)
1 Rochelle Clark(Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3 Laura Keates (Worcester)
4 Tamara Taylor(Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6 Alexandra Matthews(Richmond)
7 Marlie Packer (Bristol)
8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
16 AmyTurner (Richmond)
17 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield)
18 Harriet Millar-Mills(Lichfield)
19 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
20 IsobelNoel-Smith (Bristol)
21 Natasha Hunt(Lichfield)
22 Ceri Large (Worcester)