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VIDEO – England vs. Canada: WRWC final preview

17 August 2014

  • Get up to speed on everything about England Women's clash with Canada
  • Watch Rachael Burford and Natasha Hunt preview the final

So, a fantastic competition comes down to this evening. At the 20,000-seater Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris, two sides face off to determine the winner of the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup. It has been a seminal 17 days for the sport and whoever prevails will be a truly worthy champion.

For Gary Street's England, this represents a chance to exorcise the hurt of agonising defeat in the 2010 final. That day, New Zealand may have won 13-10, but the runners-up were instilled with burning ambition to go one better. Following a fine 40-7 semi-final triumph against Ireland, now is their opportunity.

Canada surged to this game after an enthralling 18-16 victory over France. The hosts were blown away by some fearsome strength up front. Canada and England have already played out a 13-13 draw in the pool stage, so expect a close-fought battle.

When? Sunday, August 17
Where? Stade Jean-Bouin, Paris
Kick-off? 5.45pm BST

How to keep up with the action

  • Live on SKY Sports 4 from 5.30pm. Regular updates on BBC Five Live
  • Live score updates from @EnglandRugby on Twitter
  • Match report, post-match interviews and highlights on RFU.com

The teams

England: 15. Danielle Waterman, 14. Katherine Merchant, 13. Emily Scarratt, 12. Rachael Burford, 11. Kay Wilson, 10. Katy Mclean (captain), 9. Natasha Hunt; 1. Rochelle Clark, 2. Vicky Fleetwood, 3. Sophie Hemming, 4. Tamara Taylor, 5. Jo McGilchrist, 6. Marlie Packer, 7. Maggie Alphonsi, 8. Sarah Hunter.
Replacements: 16. Emma Croker, 17. Laura Keates, 18. Rebecca Essex, 19. Alexandra Matthews, 20. La Toya Mason, 21. Ceri Large, 22. Claire Allan. 

Canada: 15. Julianne Zussman, 14. Magali Harvey, 13. Mandy Marchak, 12. Andrea Burk, 11. Jessica Dovanne, 10. Emily Belchos, 9. Elissa Alarie; 1. Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, 2. Kim Donaldson, 3. Hilary Leith, 4. Latoya Blackwood, 5. Maria Samson, 6. Jacey Murphy, 7. Karen Paquin, 8. Kelly Russell (captain).
Replacements: 16. Laura Russell, 17. Olivia DeMerchant, 18. Mary-Jane Kirby, 19. Tyson Beukeboom, 20. Kayla Mack, 21. Julia Sugawara, 22. Brittany Waters. 

Previous meetings

  • August 2014: England 13 Canada 13, Marcoussis
  • Novemeber 2013: England 32 Canada 3, Twickenham Stoop
  • August 2013: Canada 27 England 13, Glendale
  • August 2013: Canada 29 England 25, University of Northern Colorado 
  • August 2009: Canada 0 England 22, Toronto

Key clashes

Emily Scarratt vs. Magali Harvey: Although this pair do not line up exactly opposite one another, they will certainly shape the outcome of this clash. Occupying the top two positions in the tournament scoring charts, Scarratt and Harvey have accumulated 106 points between them thanks to a combination of well-taken tries and prolific place-kicking.

Magali Harvey

Photo: Getty Images

In what is sure to be a tight, tense tussle, their form from the tee could prove pivotal. However, outside centre Scarratt and wing Harvey a significant threat with ball in hand too. Indeed, both are pivotal to their team's attacking approach. Scarratt is a gliding, graceful runner with a penchant for piercing midfields. Harvey is a sizzling stepper whose blockbuster 80-metre score against France has become a YouTube sensation. Neither can be given an inch of space.

Sarah Hunter vs. Kelly Russell: Just about every successful side down the years has had a back-row talisman. England and Canada are no different. Their No.8s are both exceptional all-round players that are crucial cornerstones – far more than just anchors at the back of the scrum.

Hunter, who has skippered England in two of the four matches so far, is an unfussy operator whose tireless workrate and technical ability set her apart. Russell brings impressive power as a barnstorming carrier. If the Canadian pack pick up steam, she will be a big influence on proceedings.

Quotes from the camps

Katy Mclean (England captain): "It’s going to be a fantastic game whatever the outcome. We know exactly what to expect from Canada – we’ve played them so many times before.

"Fronting up in the first 20 minutes will be so important. That’s where Canada are at their best because they have so many strong carriers. We’ve got to be ready for that."

Kelly Russell (Canada captain): "Our journey so far has been amazing. We have a lot of heart in our team and the support from back home has been phenomenal.

"England have a lot of skill. This is a World Cup and everyone is out to bring their best in every game, more so now we are at the final. It’s going to be a huge challenge."

Did you know?

  • Magali Harvey has 52 points in the World Cup so far, exactly half of Canada's total tally
  • Emily Scarratt made 13 carries against Ireland in the semi-final, the most by an England player
  • A French television audience of 2.2 million watched Canada's defeat of the hosts last Wednesday
  • Sarah Hunter was involved in 55 breakdowns against Ireland, one every 40 seconds the ball was in play