- Gary Street wary of New Zealand's physicality
- Experienced players drafted back into starting lineup
England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street is hoping to build on his side’s success so far this year with a win against New Zealand tomorrow but says that out-muscling the Black Ferns in the contact area will decide the result of the match.
This year Street’s side managed to win their seventh consecutive Six Nations, conceding no tries throughout the tournament, and recently beat France 23-13. Their record against New Zealand is just as impressive. They have not lost to the Black Ferns since the 2010 World Cup and last year they beat them in a Test Series 2-0.
England’s consistent strong form is not causing Street to underestimate New Zealand though and he is sure the contact area will be crucial tomorrow.
“We need to be strong and physical at the contact area,” he said. “If we can win enough ball, the quality of the backs we have got will cause problems to anybody, so we need to win the ball. We need to be clean and execute well. New Zealand and us are undoubtedly two of the best sides in the world so it’s going to be a massive game on Friday.”
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England’s strength in depth has allowed Street to rotate the squad and give first team experience to a number of players. Against France Street rested a number of experienced players but the likes of wings Katherine Merchant and Michaela Staniford, centre Emily Scarratt and flanker Marlie Packer and Michaela Staniford will all bolster the line up.
Street says that he always intended to use the French match as an opportunity for inexperienced players and that the rested players are more motivated than ever to represent their country.
“It was always the plan in the French game to give other players opportunities and with New Zealand we have picked our best squad we can,” he added.
“We have got some great players who have had a bit of a rest against the French. They are chomping at the bit as they always want to play for England. Even though they knew they were being rested they were desperate to play and have been banging on the door to say don’t leave me out again.”
The game at Esher Rugby Club kicks-off at 7.30pm, with tickets available on the gate. You can also watch England Women vs New Zealand Women exclusively live on RFU.com.