- Rowena Burnfield named Player of the Match in 33-0 win against Wales
- Facing England at Twickenham is treated as a World Cup final, says Richmond lock
Photo: Getty Images
Richmond’s Rowena Burnfield produced a performance that saw her named Player of the Match in England’s 33-0 win over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday evening, but the modest lock isn’t letting it go to her head.
Burnfield was rewarded for her high work rate around the pitch and a 46th minute try that took the game out of sight from a Wales side that were still in touching distance of England and only 13-0 down at half time.
But England pulled away in the second half as they put 20 points past Wales and still remain on course for a record seventh Grand Slam.
Speaking after the game, the 23-year-old praised the Welsh opposition for making it tough for England.
“I think credit to the Wales side and how they came out in the first 20 minutes,” she said.
“We knew they would come out tough – especially with how the boys played, I think they got a lot from that as well. So we just went through our patterns, went through our phases and eventually broke them down. But it’s fair play to Wales and how they broke us down in the first 20 minutes.”
She added: “Every game for Wales or Ireland or France is their World Cup final. Playing England, especially at Twickenham, is their World Cup final. We can’t have a dip – they may have dips previously but when it comes to playing us we know it is their World Cup final and we have got to front up and face that.”
Head coach Gary Street made 11 changes to the side that beat Italy 43-3 as he continued to rotate his squad and give new players an opportunity to prove their worth on the pitch.
Photo: Getty Images
Speaking about England’s strength in depth, Burnfield said: “We have definitely got a squad culture within us. There is a squad of players so you always have that pressure. So regardless if you are a second row or a centre you always have players pushing you and it forces you to work harder on your skill base, work harder in the gym. It is the culture that we have got within ourselves.
“It is all building to two years’ time. It’s two years’ time to the World Cup so I think we are all pushing towards squad places and through-out the 26, whether it be the 22 in the match day squad, we are all pushing each other and that is creating the winning culture as it were so we are all pushing and striving to be better.”
In front of a home crowd at Twickenham, Michaela Staniford also crossed the line twice with Emily Scarratt, Kay Wilson and Sarah Hunter also scoring.
England Women were beaten by France last autumn and face another tough encounter in Paris on March 11.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Burnfield added: “It’s always good playing the French; regardless of the sport, regardless of the situation, it is always great playing the French in France and credit to them.
"Hopefully we will get a good crowd and they are very good at organising the games and publicity wise and hopefully it will be a good game and a good game for women’s rugby.”