England Women Head Coach Gary Street has shared his thoughts on his side’s weekend RBS 6 Nations loss to France at Twickenham, ending their unbeaten run at the Home of England Rugby.
Street’s side fell to a strong French side that ran in five tries en route to a 30-20 victory and as a result, they now face an uphill battle to retain the championship crown they have won every year since 2006. Tries from Kay Wilson and Hannah Gallagher and the accurate boot of Amber Reed helped counter the sustained French pressure but in the end, they fell just short.
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With many of the squad from the 2012 campaign currently playing for the Women's Sevens team, England fielded a young side without the depth of experience seen in previous years, and Street says the team was aware of the difficulties facing them in retaining the championship: “We’ve got a really young side out there and it’s a big occasion at Twickenham, it was always expected to be. We knew this championship was going to be a hard one and we’re just going to work through it and look forward to the next game now.”
Having dominated territory and possession for large parts of the second half against France, the Head Coach believes that there is a lot to build on from England's performance: “There were flashes of stuff but we’ve had very little time with this new squad and that shows, really – that timing off each other and execution.
“We scored a good try at the end and we didn’t give up. Mistakes hurt us but the side kept working hard and that’s what I’m asking from them. We’ve just got to reduce some errors.”
Speaking about the valuable big-occasion experience gained from Saturday night's encounter for the younger players inthe team, Street added: “Emily Scott made her debut today and Lauren Cattell turned 19 last week, so they’re going to get huge benefits long term and looking forward to the World Cup next year. Playing at a place like this against France is going to do them a world of good so it’s hard short term but the long-term picture is still looking rosy.”