- Hunter expects ten-try England Women to improve for Spain
- “It’s a journey and we’ll get better game by game” – England No.8
Sarah Hunter feels there is more to come from England Women after ten tries saw off a physical Samoa challenge in their Rugby World Cup 2014 opener.
Five tries in each half from Kat Merchant (2), Lydia Thompson (2), Natasha Hunt (2), Kay Wilson (2), La Toya Mason and Emily Scarratt saw Gary Street’s side to a 65-3 victory after Samoa full back Soteria Pulumu was shown a 12th minute red card for a bad tip-tackle on scrum half Hunt.
After a 12-week pre-tournament training camp in Surrey, relief at getting the campaign under way was the overriding emotion among the players post-match. But honest No.8 Hunter also said England know they must improve for the sterner tests to come.
Photo: Getty Images
“After all the training we’ve been through since January it feels really good to get a game under our belts and get our world cup campaign off to a good start,” said the 64-cap back row.
“Some things went really well, but our execution at times let us down and we’ll have to be more clinical against Spain on Tuesday. We’ll go away, review the game to look at what went well and also what we want to work on and how we put that right. We’ll look at how Spain play and how they went against Canada and come up with a game plan.”
England play Spain on Tuesday and then Canada on Saturday to complete Pool A before the knock-out stages the following week.
Runners-up to four-time champions New Zealand in the 2006 and 2010 finals, Hunter knows the team must evolve as a group on the five-game journey in France. Therefore, the England vice-captain is not concerned – and even quite pleased – to have areas to improve on for the next game.
“We’re not looking to be perfect at this stage of the competition,” the 28 year-old continued. “We want to build through, if we got it all right now we might ease up and not improve. It’s a journey and we’ll get better game by game.
“And actually credit to Samoa, they were relentless even playing with 14 players for the majority of the game. They kept coming, kept putting us under pressure, which ultimately forced the errors by ourselves. We know we have to be better but that’s alright, we can go away, we can deal with that, we don’t want to be perfect on day one.”
Photo: Getty Images
Spain went down 31-7 to Canada, with wing Magali Harvey bagging 26 points. Hunter added that England will not be complacent in the build-up, noting the spine of fast, skilful converted sevens players in the Spanish set-up.
“We know they’ve got a strong, dominant pack which will give their backs and their sevens players who have transferred over a good attacking platform. We know they’ve got great pace, great hands but they’ll also carry a similar threat to Samoa in that they’ll have a dominant pack with fast outside backs, who troubled us today.
"We’re expecting a similar attacking threat from Spain so the Samoa victory stands us in good stead for that.”