- Packer eager to win starting berth for final
- Try-scoring back-rower callls for one last push
Marlie Packer’s bustling, tackle-breaking carries have been an indelible feature of England’s run to the Women’s Rugby World Cup final and a brace from the bench in Wednesday’s 40-7 defeat of Ireland have sent her to joint-second in the tournament scoring charts with four tries overall.
However, the Wasps flanker is not satisfied with individual accolades and is fiercely focussed on emerging from the decider against Canada on Sunday with some silverware.
Hailing a semi-final performance in which “it all went right”, 24 year-old Packer said another victory at the Stade Jean-Bouin would mean “everything” to a hugely hungry squad.
Having already drawn 13-13 with Canada in the pool stages a week ago, England head into the clash with unrivalled knowledge of their opponents – as well the threat of powerful No.8 and skipper Kelly Russell.
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons about ourselves,” Packer explained. “We realised that we had a lot more time on the ball than we were giving ourselves.
“As we showed against Ireland, we’ve got the potential to go out there and smash it on Sunday. But we’ve got to get the little things right. If we’re clinical in what we do, hopefully it will go our way.
“For back-row players, we are always trying to get onto their runners from the base as quickly as possible. That is what gives them tempo and momentum.
“Kelly had a tough game against us last time and we’ve got to do the same – we can’t let her breathe.”
Proud West Country native Packer had to wait over three years between her first and second international caps while she completed a plumbing qualification. Clearly, she is eager to make up for lost time on the Test stage.
Indeed, discussing her role as an impact replacement over the World Cup so far – one with a penchant for “running hard” – her immense desire shone through.
“I really want a starting shirt going into the final, but I’ve got a lot of trust in the coaches and what they think is the best 15 to start.
“The players coming off the bench obviously have a big role too. We all have the same aim – to win the World Cup for England.
“To be involved in the 22 at all on Sunday would be amazing.”