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Kelly Smith confident that England Women are ready for what lies ahead

Kelly Smith confident that England Women are ready for what lies ahead
Gloucester-Hartpury winger Kelly Smith was one of the England Women try scorers in last week’s win over USA, and has retained her place for Sunday’s clash with Canada. She insisted today that the whole squad are prepared for the challenge of three games in eight days.

Having defeated the USA by 38 points to 5, Simon Middleton’s side now take on Canada, before facing France and New Zealand. England have won 16 of their last 17 tests, but the next week or so will be a real tester.

The USA took the game to England for a while last weekend, and certainly tested a squad that’s missing some big names on this tour. But Smith explained they were expecting a big game from the hosts, and that it’s an opportunity for some of the less experienced players in the squad.

“We thought that was going to be the case, but we had confidence in our game plan and kept trying to go forward and take the game to them and we eventually got the win.

“We’re confident that we’re developing the depth in the squad that we can cope and thrive even if key players aren’t available. We know that we have players who can step up and fill the boots of another when they have to.

“It’s never an issue, and the girls who are playing know that they have the full support of the whole squad. It’s a great team environment and culture that we’re building and I think that’s being reflected on the pitch.”

England came away from the USA game with some things to work on, but have had to wait a week before getting back into competitive action. Kelly was at pains to stress that it’s not an issue.

“Once you play your first game, you get a feel for it and I think that all the girls wanted to get out there and play again as soon as possible because we all know that there were some areas we needed to improve.

“But the schedule is what it is, we knew what it looked like before we came out here and we have to deal with the fact that we have over a week between the first two games. But we’ve maintained the same focus in training and worked hard to prepare for the Canada game.

“Similarly, we always knew that we’d have to play three games in eight days and we’re all ready for that. We know what we have to face, and how we have to recover off the pitch in between games in order to be ready for the next one. We’re all buying into that and they should be good games to watch and take part in.”

So, Canada are next up. What are England expecting?

“We’re expecting massive physicality from Canada, from 1 to 15. They’re all good athletes and they never give up. So, we know what we have to do in each game if we’re going to be successful out here and come away with the wins.

“It’s the top five teams in the world, so we knew even before we came out here that the competition was going to be fierce. Even though the next World Cup is a couple of years away, we’re almost treating this like a mini World Cup and using it to build and prepare ourselves for the future.”
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Gloucester Rugby
Fri 2 Sep
KO 19:45
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