McLean keeps England grounded

Date published: August 16 2014

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England will be hoping it's fourth time lucky when they play Canada in the final of the Women's Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

England will be hoping it's fourth time lucky when they play Canada in the final of the Women's Rugby World Cup on Sunday so they can ditch the mantle of perpetual bridesmaids.

Experience though counts for nothing, England captain Katy McLean was quick to warn.

“As soon as you start thinking about lifting cups is when you fall over,” said McLean.

“We executed (against Ireland), but against Canada we made a load of mistakes and we didn't build any phases.

“When you're on front foot ball and when you're going forward it's a very easy match for us backs to manage.

“It's going to be about managing pressure, dealing with expectation and then just turning up and playing. No matter the result, it's going to be a fantastic final.

“We've just got out make sure we follow up on what we want to do.”

The final, she said, had been England's aim and the performance against the Irish had given her heart.

“There's such a buzz, an excitement around the squad. The most pleasing thing was it was a team performance, there were stand out individuals, yes, but the team really clicked against Ireland,” added McLean.

“All credit to Canada, to put the hosts out in that kind of atmosphere is no mean feat.

“We know what to expect, we've had a lot of opportunity to play Canada over the years.

“We just need to front up in that first 20 minutes. That's where they're at their best, they're such a good carrying, physical side who want to play a really good brand of rugby and we've got to be ready for that.”

McLean's counterpart, Kelly Russell, expected Sunday's showdown to be a real challenge.

“We have a lot of heart in our team,” said Russell, one of four players nominated for the IRB Women's Player of the Year.

“England will be physical. They have a lot of skills under their belt and they can play any game so that's something we're aware of. It's about executing.

“This is the World Cup and everybody's going to bring their best every game, so obviously it's going to be a good challenging match.”

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