- Lichfield back-rower confident of finishing 2013 with two wins
- “We want to settle some scores against France and Canada” – Hunter
Sarah Hunter has earmarked next month’s Autumn International Series fixtures against France and Canada as a perfect opportunity for England Women to regain momentum at the start of a year-long build-up to the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Lichfield back-rower Hunter has been part of an underwhelming 2013 for Gary Street’s charges so far, which has included a third-place finish in the Six Nations, a 3-0 series whitewash defeat to the Black Ferns in New Zealand and the failure to retain the Nations Cup in America.
Photo: Getty Images
Two of the more painful set-backs already this year have been losing their unbeaten record at Twickenham by losing 30-20 to France in February and suffering a 27-13 reverse against Canada in the Nations Cup final.
However, England can avenge those results against the same opposition in early November – and Hunter suggested her teammates would not require any extra motivation.
“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in terms of how we adapt to the opposition,” she said. “There are lots of things to build on, but lots of positives as well. It’s not all bad news and hopefully the season as a whole can make us a lot stronger heading into the World Cup.”
“I don’t think the players need much reminding of [the losses to France and Canada]. We want to settle some scores and put in solid performances. In our last games against them, we have done some good things, but not enough to win the game.
Photo Credit Here
“We had a camp last week and we’re in a good place – there’s a nice feel about the squad and that’s really key. Stuart Lancaster talks about wanting to play for each other and treating your squad as a family.
“We certainly have that, which came through strongly in New Zealand and during the Nations Cup. That’s what we’ll be taking through into the autumn.”
A decision to target silverware at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow meant that England were without some key personnel in 15-a-side competition up until the tour of New Zealand.
With Street now able to select those players – as well as fit-again Maggie Alphonsi – there is a more experienced core to his squad.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system,” admitted Hunter. “You do learn from losing as well as winning, but we’ve done enough losing for the time being.
“Pushing onto the World Cup, it is important for us to get two wins under our belt so that we can take it forward into the Six Nations and regain the title we lost last year.
“The amount of players we used because of the sevens focus is something that has really shone throne. Those players are knocking on the door to say ‘pick me, I’m an international player and I want to be starting.’
“That is fantastic for competition across the squad because it means everyone has to be on form and performing.”
England Women Autumn International Series
November 9: England v France, Twickenham Stadium, kick-off 5.05pm (live on Sky Sports 2). Free entry to Twickenham Stadium following England Men’s QBE International
November 13: England v Canada, The Twickenham Stoop, kick-off 7pm.
Tickets are available via www.ticketmaster.co.uk (0844 847 2492) and www.quins.co.uk (0208 410 6000). Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s.