England Women’s scrum half Georgina Gulliver has called on her team to be more clinical against Italy on Saturday after suffering two losses on the bounce in this year’s Six Nations, kick off 1pm, at Esher RFC.
Having opened this year’s tournament with a thumping 76-0 win over Scotland, England Women have since produced two uncharacteristic performances, losing 25-0 to Ireland and 30-20 to France at Twickenham last month. Gary Street’s side had not lost since November 2011 before the defeat to Ireland and had won Grand Slams in six of the last seven Six Nations.
Saturday’s fixture against Italy will be a chance for the side to get their tournament back on track and Street has made seven changes going into it, with Gulliver coming in for La Toya Mason at scrum half. Gulliver says that better execution has been a main focus for the side heading into the clash.
“We are a team that’s got a real track record of winning games so the last two weeks have been quite hard to swallow but we are not pushing any panic buttons yet, we know we have got the performance in us for a big game but it just hasn’t quite come out yet.
“We haven’t made massive amounts of changes and our game plan is working. It’s just about execution for us really, that s our key buzz word this weekend. We need to execute in the right areas of the pitch and that’s the plan against Italy.
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“It will show the real character in our squad if we bounce back from these two defeats and you know we’ve got the performance in us to take through to the next two games so it’s about retaining a bit of pride and putting on the pitch what we have practiced in training and just getting back to our winning ways.”
Italy are currently third in this year’s Six Nations, having beaten France and Scotland so far, and with two games to play Gulliver says the team are expecting a tough challenge on Saturday.
“They are massively improved, they improve every year. They started the tournament brilliantly, exactly the same as their men’s team notching up a big win against France, they are always going to be passionate and tough up front and their backs are pretty skilful. They like to kick a lot and I know they are going to put us under pressure on Saturday.”
The match will be streamed live on RFU.com. Click here to watch the match live from 1pm on Saturday.