- Lock expects added spice from Black Ferns
- Hunter calls for clinical edge
Tamara Taylor expects some added spice from Wednesday’s Rugby Super Series clash with New Zealand (kick-off 11pm, live stream here) and says England Women’s tag of world champions will provide extra incentive for the opposition.
Lock Taylor captained the side for the beginning of this season’s Six Nations and returns to Simon Middleton’s starting line-up following a 39-13 victory over the USA to open the four-way competition in Canada.
Having experienced the energy and motivation of rival nations since last summer’s Rugby World Cup victory, Taylor believes England have a tough assignment in store.
That said, the prospect of renewing hostilities with the Black Ferns – who won four World Cups in succession between 1998 and 2010 – was one she appeared to be relishing.
“To not have played them in the World Cup having done so over the previous tournaments, it’s great to have the chance to play them again within a year.
“They’ve got such a good offloading game, just like their men – there’s a real continuity to their attack.
“Every time we played them when they were world champions, it added something extra to how much we wanted to beat them.
“That was the case with us going into the Six Nations, and I’m sure New Zealand be thinking that as they take us on.”
Tighthead prop Laura Keates added similar sentiments, praising England’s “fantastic” opponents and their dominant form throughout the World Sevens Series.
Skipper Sarah Hunter shifts to No 8 in order to accommodate powerful No 8 Alex Matthews in an excellent back row that also features Marlie Packer at openside.
She called upon her teammates to execute an accurate performance and maintain momentum.
“We know we’ll have to be clinical and composed because New Zealand just capitalise on any mistake. They force errors and then punish you, so we’ll need to minimise our mistake and maximise our opportunities.
“They don’t give you very much and we know how expansive they can be with the ball.
“They don’t like losing and they don’t losing and they won’t have liked not retaining their trophy. I’m sure they’ll be looking to get one over on us.”