- England Women's skipper says confidence is high
- “All the pressure is on us, but we thrive on that” – Mclean
England Women’s captain Katy Mclean says a 63-0 defeat of Scotland provided a perfect tonic for her side and that Gary Street’s charges are now intent on bringing the same fast-paced, clinical edge to their tie against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.
Mclean added 13 points including one of 13 tries as the Auld Enemy were blown away in Aberdeen – a victory that was doubly important given the 18-6 loss to France a week previously.
Indeed, the Darlington Mowden Park Sharks fly half explained that an underwhelming reverse across the Channel had been forgotten.
“The mood has definitely improved,” she said. “The girls weren’t low after France, but we were disappointed in ourselves because our preparation had gone so well leading into it. When the game came, it went past us again without us really even getting into it.
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“In the Six Nations, every game counts so it was extremely disappointing. The beauty of the tournament is that we had a game very soon afterwards against Scotland and we really turned up.
“We started to implement some of the things we talked about in France. We talked about making ourselves proud when we left the pitch and mentally we had to get back on the horse.
“One game doesn’t ever make you a bad team but self-doubt can start to creep in at times. Scotland proved we can play the way we want to and we need to turn up again. There’s still a lot to improve on but we’re in a good place now.”
Head Coach Street has opted for experience against reigning Grand Slam champions Ireland, Maggie Alphonsi returning to the number seven shirt as one of seven changes.
And with the match set to take place after the RBS 6 Nations encounter between the men’s sides at HQ, Mclean expected a heady atmosphere.
“All credit to the Irish girls – their Grand Slam last year did a huge amount for Irish rugby. They thoroughly deserved it.
“The game is going to be hard-fought and there is no middle ground for us – we need to win to stay in the competition. All the pressure is on us, but we thrive on that. It should be a fantastic spectacle.
“We know Ireland are going to start strong and that they have a big, physical pack with some good kickers that are going to want to pin us deep. We’ve got to make sure we keep hold of the ball and play with a tempo that suits us.
“Running out at Twickenham is fantastic. As a kid, you grow up wanting to play for England and playing at Twickenham is always part of that dream. We’re so lucky to play here regularly and we get fantastic support, so I hope the people stay in their seats after the guys to carry us home.”