Sunderland star relishing World Cup final

Katy Mclean
Katy Mclean
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Rugby Union

ENGLAND skipper Katy Mclean is relishing her second World Cup final.

The Sunderland teacher will lead her side against Canada tomorrow evening before a 20,000 sell-out crowd at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris.

“It’s a massive one, it still doesn’t feel real,” she said. “But we are there, we are in the final.

“That was our aim coming into this tournament and there wsas a lot of pressure on us to do that. I think back to 2010 (when England lost out to New Zealand in the final for the third successive time) and it was a massive relief to reach the final.

“Now, there’s such excitement, such a buzz around the squad. We want to get there and play!”

While Canada edged out hosts France in the semis by just two points, England hammered Ireland 40-7.

England and Canada had earlier drawn 13-13 in the group stages.

“The major pleasing point against Ireland was the way we played,” added the 28-year-old.

“Coming out of the Canada game, we knew we hadn’t played well. You sometimes get a bit wobbly and have doubts - will we ever find our form in this World Cup?

“But we got to the business end and we did. The most pleasing thing from a captain’s point of view, was that it was a team performance.

“There were standout performances, yes, but actuially the team really clicked.”

Mclean will expect a tough game again against Canada tomorrow.

“All credit to Canada. They played extremely well (in the semi-finals). To put the hosts out in that atmosphere was no mean feat.

“It’s going to be a fantastic game. We know what to expect as we’ve had a lot of opportunities to play Canada over the years.

“It’s about making sure we front up during the first 20. They are such a good carrying, physical team and we’ve got to be ready for that.”

England centre Emily Scarratt is another who lost the World Cup final on home soil four years ago.

“I understand why people are saying that we are favourites, but I feel we are going into this game as equals,” Scarratt said.

“We both came through our group to win our semi-finals and it’s going to be a real test on Sunday.

“Favourites or no favourites, we have to go out and perform and use the skills that our players have got.

“I think our execution can make the difference. If we execute our skills properly, build a platform and keep our heads clear then I believe we can win.”

England suffered a 13-10 final defeat at the Twickenham Stoop in 2010 but Scarratt insists there is a different mind-set in the camp four years on.

“It’s a different feeling to 2010 when we were playing at home and there was a lot of pressure on us to make the final,” Scarratt said.

“It was a relief getting to that final, but now it’s not job done just getting to the final.

“There’s a lot of players left from 2010, maybe about 10 or 11, and for some of the girls it’s their third tournament.

“It’s different this time and you can feel the excitement seeping through from outside.

“But we are in a little bubble out here and the only real pressure we put on ourselves is to be lifting that World Cup trophy.”