Packer praises "clinical" England

  • Packer says England had to be perseverant during Spain win
  • Flanker sets sights on Canada

Two-try flanker Marlie Packer says England had to “grin and bear it” at times during their 45-5 defeat of Spain, but will be confident of a third successive Women’s Rugby World Cup victory when they face Canada on Saturday.

Gary Street’s charges were made to work extremely hard by an industrious Spain side that disrupted England's fluency with fast line-speed and abrasive work at the breakdown.

However, England’s muscular, accurate pack racked up three second-half tries thanks to Packer’s double – a barreling run past four would-be tacklers and another courtesy of a driving lineout maul – plus an opportunistic, short-range shunt from replacement prop Laura Keates.

Another convincing win was the upshot, and Packer was delighted shortly after the final whistle.

“I’ve over the moon to be honest,” she said. “We wanted to raise the bar from our performance against Samoa and I think we did that as a squad. 

“Spain came out of the blocks hard but we stuck to our skills”

“We managed three tries alone in the forwards and that is massive going into Canada.

“The first 40 minutes was really tough. We probably felt the heat and we knew Spain would come out of the blocks hard and put up a massive fight. 

“They also did that at the start of the second half but we just had to grin and bear it, stick to our basic skills and be clinical.”

In a squad that is saturated with fantastic back-row options including Alexandra Matthews, Sarah Hunter, Maggie Alphonsi and Heather Fisher, Packer acknowledged that her sparky showing had put down a marker.

Even so, her main focus was on the squad as a whole and their pursuit of silverware. Canada represents a tough finish to England’s Pool A schedule and Packer was determined to seal a semi-final berth.

“We’ll be confident [for Canada],” she explained. “It’s just about getting all the recovery right, doing our homework in terms of analysis so everything’s in place before we go out and play them.

“We’ve just got to make sure we keep their back row out of the game – if they break off the back of the scrum, we’ll chop them low and get over them as quickly as possible. 

“If we don’t give them any space to breathe, they can’t play rugby.”