England star Emily Scarratt aims for a Rugby World Cup-winning double in San Francisco this weekend

Sport360 staff 01:11 19/07/2018
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Engalnd vice-captain Emily Scarratt

England star Emily Scarratt will aim for a Rugby World Cup-winning double in San Francisco this weekend.

Scarratt, a key member of the England team that enjoyed 15-a-side global glory four years ago, switches her attention to the Rugby World Cup sevens.

And the England vice-captain, whose colleagues include five of her fellow Great Britain 2016 Rio Olympians, is geared up for what will be a considerable challenge.

England’s opening game is against Ireland on Friday, and the tournament’s straight knockout format means there are no second chances that would be offered by a pool stage system.

Scarratt, though, relishes such pressure as eighth seeds England look to make their way through a competition that recent form suggests could be dominated by New Zealand and Australia.

“It is going to be a really interesting format,” Scarratt told Press Association Sport. “We’ve never been through it before.

“It is a knockout mentality from the start. But if we are honest, that’s the pressure we should have all the time.

“Ultimately, you don’t get a second chance.

“Quite often in sevens tournaments, you can get away with one bad performance – it doesn’t necessarily mean your tournament is over – so every team is going to have to make sure they are right on it.

“The standard is awesome. I didn’t play sevens last season, but I did the year before, and coming back into it you can see the vast differences teams and players have made in their games.

“Everyone is having to step up, and the standards are being pushed higher and higher, which can only be great for the game.”

England head coach James Bailey’s 12-strong squad is captained by Abbie Brown, with nine players that featured in England’s bronze medal-winning Commonwealth Games team earlier this year included.

Bailey said: “We have a very tight squad, and the players’ willingness to work exceptionally hard for each other has been demonstrated consistently throughout the season.

“The Commonwealth Games illustrated what we are capable of, which gives us confidence for the Rugby World Cup.

“We see San Francisco as a celebration of all of the hard work that the entire unit of players has put in this season, and as another opportunity to go out there and create some very special memories.”

Sixteen teams will contest the women’s competition, with 24 in the men’s, and like Scarratt, Bailey applauds the knockout schedule.

“We are incredibly excited about the new format of the competition,” he added.

“It’s very different to what we are used to on the World Series circuit, but we are really looking forward to being a part of it.”

England squad: Abbie Brown (capt), Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Claire Allan, Jess Breach, Heather Fisher, Vicky Fleetwood, Deborah Fleming, Natasha Hunt, Alex Matthews, Sarah McKenna, Amy Wilson Hardy.

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