- England Women's head coach relieved after wins over France and Canada
- “Our goal is to win every game in 2014” – Gary Street
England Women’s head coach Gary Street is delighted with his team’s wins over France and Canada this month and believes a pair of impressive victories has re-established his charges among the top sides in the world.
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Ignominious defeats to Ireland and Les Bleus in last season’s Six Nations foreshadowed a rather underwhelming campaign, a that trend continuing with a whitewash reverse in New Zealand and the failure to retain the Nations Cup during the summer.
However, with a full-strength squad reunited after Rugby World Cup Sevens – which left them with a rather inexperienced selection pool at the start of 2013 – England beat France 40-20 at Twickenham 10 days ago before dispatching Canada 32-3 the following Wednesday.
And while Street insisted there were still areas to work on ahead of next summer’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in France, he was hugely pleased with an autumn clean-sweep.
“There’s a lot of relief actually,” he admitted. “It’s well documented that it was a tough year last year but I was always confident that we’d be match ready once we got the squad back together and had some good prep. I think the two games have shown that.
“We’ve still got a lot to work to do. I made 11 changes for the Canada game because we needed to see everybody before the Six Nations and picking the World Cup squad. That was always going to make continuity slightly difficult but overall I’m massively pleased.
“Canada are a good side. They won the Nations Cup over the summer and have a lot of pace and power. To keep scoreless was great.
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“At half time the girls were saying it was one of the fastest games they’ve played in, but they still kept getting back on their feet and making tackle after tackle.”
Outlining the role of forwards coach Graham Smith, who compelled a truly dominant performance from the pack in the triumph over Canada at The Twickenham Stoop, Street also singled out “outstanding” fly half and captain Katy Mclean after she contributed 30 points over the two encounters.
Finishing with a reflection on some new-found “mental resolve”, he explained that a difficult period will have steeled England for an assault on silverware.
“We’ve taken some stick and we’ve learnt from it. That showed in how we defended [against Canada] – it was an exhibition of what we’ve learned and how hard we’re going to work for each other. We’re looking forward to 2014 now.
“We needed no motivation ahead of this autumn. We were very clear that we wanted to put things right – we’ve told the world we’re back.
“There’s a lot of hard work to put in but our goal is to win every game in 2014.”