Fly-half Mclean believes the feel-good factor surrounding English women’s sport can spur England on at the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
By PA Sport Staff
England fly-half Katy Mclean says her team-mates have been inspired by the success of their cricketing counterparts ahead of the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup.
After England’s dramatic World Cup final victory over India at Lord’s, this country’s rugby players will now look to follow suit at their own showpiece tournament starting on August 9.
There could be more silverware yet to come before then too, with England’s female footballers taking on Holland on Thursday for a place in Sunday’s Euro 2017 final.
Mclean believes the feel-good factor surrounding English women’s sport can spur them on at the World Cup in Ireland.England’s Women’s Rugby World Cup winning team at Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Mclean said. “The buzz from the cricket is definitely going to help us.
“Then you look at the footballers and them beating France to get to the semis – it’s everything you want to see as a woman in sport, not just rugby.
“I remember being seven and my role model was Sally Gunnell because she was the only female athlete on TV.
“Now you’ve got cricketers, footballers, rugby players – and we want to follow them in inspiring the next generation of female players. It’s phenomenal.”
England are the reigning world champions after they beat Canada in the final three years ago but they will face stiff competition from the likes of New Zealand, Ireland, France and the Canadians again.
They have been drawn in Pool B with Italy, the United States and Spain.
“It’s not about retaining the trophy, you don’t get any bonus points for winning it before,” Mclean said. “This tournament is a clean slate for everybody. There’s 12 teams that are going to go out there and want to win it. It means nothing for us what happened in 2014.”
England’s 15-a-side players know they will not have their contracts renewed at the end of the tournament after the Rugby Football Union’s controversial decision to shift focus to sevens. Mclean, however, insists the squad will not let the issue become a distraction.
“As players it’s something we’ve known about for a while but the big focus is on the World Cup,” Mclean said. “I have to make sure as a group that’s all we focus on. The best thing we can control is our performances and the first one is against Spain in 10 days time.”