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VIDEO – England Women v New Zealand: final Test preview

30 November 2012

  • England after whitewash against New Zealand
  • Watmore says team are motivated by the chance to win 3-0

While England Women have already won this year’s autumn series against New Zealand with two hard-fought victories, tomorrow they will meet the Black Ferns for the final time after the men’s match at Twickenham in hope of securing their first ever 3-0 whitewash over the world champions.

England won 16-13 and 17-8 in the first two tests and despite the Test Series being wrapped up, Vice-Captain Sarah Hunter says the team will only be satisfied with a clean sweep after winning the 2011 series 2-0 with one draw.

“When we came into this autumn series we said that we wanted three wins and we have definitely got one more job to do,” said Hunter. “It’s brilliant that we have won the series but we want that third win desperately on Saturday.

“Comparing ourselves to this time last year we are at a different level, both in skill, physically and mentally. We are somewhere we have never been before and we are really looking forward to Saturday’s challenge to really push on.

“I am not sure we had it in ourselves last year and I think we were happy enough just winning the series while this year we are definitely looking forward to that 3-0 whitewash.”

Head coach Gary Street has made seven changes to the lineup for Saturday’s match, with fly half Katy McLean taking over the captaincy from Hunter. Outside Centre Joanne Watmore, who scored in the second test, will start again against the Black Ferns and says that New Zealand will be looking to cause an upset.

“You can never underestimate New Zealand and they will want to go out in a bang and end up with a victory at Twickenham,” said Watmore. “They will think that it’s a moral victory at Twickenham but at the same time the motivation for us is a 3-0 victory over NZ at Twickenham which would be fantastic so it should be a good game.”

Katy McLean kicks a penalty against New Zealand

Photo Credit: Getty Images

England have the momentum going into the match having not lost to New Zealand since the 2010 World Cup final. Last year they secured a 2-0 Series win, drawing the final game, and throughout 2012 they have asserted their dominance in Europe with their seventh consecutive Six Nations title.

The strength and depth in the squad has become ever more apparent this year, giving Head Coach Street a number of options in both the backs and forwards. The captaincy has also been switched between players throughout this series, with Katy McLean and Hunter sharing the duties across the three Tests.

Hunter believes that the squad has developed so much over the past year that there are now a wealth of options for the coaches when it comes to team selection and captaincy.

“We have got into a place now within the squad that there are so many natural leaders. Anyone who gets the opportunity will be able to do it. The players are always there to support you whether it’s Katy or myself captaining the team and you could pick players all the way through the Series to help support and lead.

“There are now only a few players that have played all three games and I think it shows the strength in depth within the squad now. Not everyone is having to start every game as we have got so many people vying for those shirts and it’s a tough job for Gary and Graham to pick that starting 15.”

Entry to Twickenham will be free after the men’s game on Saturday for fans wanting to watch England Women live, which kicks off at 5pm. RFU.com will also be providing live text coverage on the @Official_RFU twitter handle and Sky Sports will be showing the match live.