Scarratt up for France semi-final test

Almost three years to the day since Red Roses centre Emily Scarratt helped her side lift the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France, she is ready for another round of knockout rugby.

England are preparing to face France in the last four of the competition at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on Tuesday 22 August at 19:45 BST in a game that will be broadcast live on ITV 4. 

Lichfield back Scarratt scored 16 points in the World Cup final three years ago as England beat Canada 21-9 and they are now just another 80 minutes away from reaching a fifth successive final.

“Knockout games are always tough,” said the 27-year-old. “We did have some really big challenges in the pool stages, the scorelines might not reflect that but we always set ourselves up against ourselves and what we want to achieve.

“France are going to pose some very different challenging questions but we‘ve just got to stick to what we want to do and how we’re going to impose ourselves on the game and see where that leaves us."

Belfast bound

After the pool stages took place in Dublin the competition has now moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland for the knockout stages, where England will play their remaining two games at Pro 14 side Ulster’s Kingspan Stadium.

France, who finished third in their home tournament in 2014, finished top of Pool C with wins over Japan, Australia and Ireland in their three games, scoring 23 tries compared to England’s 27 in the process. "I think France are really pulling it together in this tournament."

“It’s nice in a way to be somewhere different as it refocuses you and we’re really excited for the next game,” added Scarratt.

“We’ve come up against very different challenges across all three of the games and the teams have posed different questions and we’ve been able to answer those in the most part.

“We know they’ve gone really well in this tournament so far and are looking like a different side than they were in the Six Nations.

“I don’t think France ever go under the radar, I think they’ve always had some amazing players, a great team and I think they’re really pulling it together in this tournament.”

History maker

Scarratt is England’s joint-leading try scorer in Ireland with Kay Wilson as both have crossed the line four times.

The centre is on 36 points for the tournament so far, the fourth highest of any player, and her 15-point haul against the USA took her past fly half Katy Mclean as England’s highest ever points scorer.

“I didn’t actually know that but it’s quite cool. I think if one scores we go over the other and if the other scores we go back.

“I’m sure it is something that is going to keep on happening for a little while with the overtaking of each other but it’s quite cool to be up there.”

Story so far

It’s three wins from three for the Red Roses but who have been some of the standout performers so far in terms of stats?

Scarratt and Kay Wilson are both on four tries in Ireland, which is some way behind New Zealand’s tournament leading try-scorer Portia Woodman who was nine, while Scarratt is fourth in the leading points scorer race on 36.

In terms of metres made, full back Danielle Waterman has made 234 in her three matches while flanker Alex Matthews leads the tackles made with 27 to her name.

Forward Harriet Millar-Mills leads England's carries with ball in hand with 38, as well as carries over the gainline (20) while lock Abbie Scott tops the turnovers with five.

As well as their three bonus point wins, England have scored 27 tries, 159 points and made 2034 metres as a team.