- In-form back admits Six Nations has been mixed for England
- Scarratt looks forward to 50th cap
A modest Emily Scarratt has downplayed her prolific individual form and called for England Women to deliver a cohesive, clinical display against Italy in their final game of the Six Nations – even if a comprehensive victory may not be enough to retain the title.
Scarratt shone last Friday as Gary Street’s outfit outmuscled Wales 35-3, collecting 20 points including a pair of tries, two penalties and two conversions.
As well as notching that haul, she laid on another score for Kay Wilson and generally troubled the Welsh defence with some powerful, balanced running and intelligent support lines.
Rather than bask in that display though, Scarratt said that “retaining her shirt” had been a big goal after an autumn of injury and praised her teammates – including wing Natasha Brennan, who crossed the line with the first touch of her debut against Wales – for their resurgent form.
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“It’s well documented that we didn’t have the best start to our Six Nations campaign in France but we’ve picked ourselves up and we’re moving forward with each performance,” she explained.
“Going into Italy, we’ll hope to pick it up again from Wales because in that game there were quite a few mistakes that we’d like to correct.
“[A try on debut] was great for Tash and it’s a great position for us to be in as well. Gary [Street] and Graham [Smith, England Women Forwards Coach] are going to have a few headaches when it comes to that final selection for the World Cup in a few weeks’ time.
“Up until then it’s important to play together regularly with the people who are likely to feature in World Cup games so we have that continuity.”
Street has made 11 changes to his starting line-up ahead of the trip to Rovato to face the Azzurri in the hope of freshening up his team and ironing out some frustrating errors.
Scarratt moves to outside centre this weekend and wins her 50th cap. At the tender age of 24 she has become an integral part of England’s attack – one you sense they will need ahead of the World Cup this summer.
“I’ve been involved for quite a while now and I’m always trying to push things on during training,” Scarratt admitted, before evaluating the Six Nations campaign so far for her side.
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“I do still see myself as a young player and look up to a lot of the older guys – I should probably snap out of that now. Collectively we are always driving each other in every aspect.
“It’s probably fair to define it as a mixed tournament – we probably like to go back and play the first game again.
“We’ve given ourselves a kick up the backside and pushed ourselves on. We’re still making mistakes and aren’t as clinical as we’d like to be. But that’s a good place to be – still winning but needing to improve.”
France can sew up a Grand Slam if they overturn Ireland on Friday evening, which would leave England with nothing but pride and world momentum to play for in Italy. However, should Ireland prevail, Street’s charges can clinch silverware with a heavy win.
While acknowledging that the permutations were rather confusing, Scarratt insisted that England would be primed to execute the task in hand.
“It’ll be very different depending on how that France-Ireland game goes. If Ireland beat them, we’ll need to put 50 or 60 points on Italy to stand a chance of winning [the Championship].
"If France win and the Six Nations has gone, we’ll need to focus on ourselves because ultimately it’s one of our last competitive games before we hit the World Cup running.”