Emily Scarratt is not prepared to accept second best at this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – forget ranking positions – it is all about lifting silverware for the England star.
The 2019 world 15s’ player of the year, knows England will face an almighty challenge in beating New Zealand in their own back garden this autumn – but Scarratt insists she has unfinished business.
The 32-year-old from Leicester was part of the England team that lifted the World Cup in 2014 but has since tasted defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the 2017 final, leaving her hungry for revenge.
“The goal is to go and win the World Cup,” Scarratt said. “It will be the same for three, four or five other countries as well.
“But I think, in sport, if you can stand there in second place knowing you could not have given any more then it is like, yes, fair play to you. We just hope that’s not the case.
“It would mean a hell of a lot to win this year. I don’t think I’d be here if it wasn’t something that really drove me, and I really cared about.
“It’s an elite group of players. I think obviously, being professional, the journey we have been on, the quality we have within, it would be special.
“And the disappointment of the last one. Yes, a few of us have won one but that was two cycles ago, the last one is the one that sticks in your head more.”
Loughborough Lightning’s, Scarratt, was watching on as England were put through their paces during a Red Roses open training session with O2at Twickenham with one thousand fans in attendance.
The dynamic center is nursing a niggle having recovered from a broken leg last September to help England to a fourth Six Nations title in a row.
Scarratt is confident of being fit but with England’s pre-season training squad having to be whittled down from 37 to 32, she knows tough decisions will have to be made.
She added: “It’s going to be brutal. It’s the best thing and tough at the same time. Obviously, we have a wealth of depth throughout loads of positions, which makes training loads better.
“It makes the competition brilliant, but obviously, selection is tough. That’s why Mids [head coach Simon Middleton] and crew get paid the big bucks to make those decisions.
“Everyone wants a shot, don’t they? Everyone wants to try and have their opportunity and showcase the best version of themselves.”
And with selection on everyone’s minds, The Red Roses are set to take on fifth-ranked USA on 3 September at Sandy Park in Exeter, before facing familiar foes Wales on 14 September at Bristol’s Ashton Gate, heading to the venue for the first time.
England’s World Cup campaign begins on 8 October against Fiji, while they will also face 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations runners-up France and South Africa in Pool C.
Scarratt said: “It’s about putting that [training] against another team because it’s good training against yourselves.
“But obviously it is quite difficult at the same time because we know what we do, we know how we defend, we know how we attack, so it’s about trying to see a picture that you’re not used to seeing.
“And then obviously you can learn and grow a hell of a lot from those. But also, a bit of a hit out, we haven’t played in a while together. Obviously, we have done the pre-season block, which is grim at the best of times, and then you want to get out there and play.
“Then, the next thing you do is you are on the plane. Selection is not made at that point, so there’ll be a little bit of everybody wanting to put their hand up for that.”
Emily Scarratt, Helena Rowland, and Abigail Dow were talking at the Red Roses Open Training with O2 at Twickenham. Through O2’s partnership with England’s national teams, it has pledged to equally fund the men’s and women’s game. For more information on O2’s partnership visit https://www.englandrugby.com/about-rfu/rfu-partners/o2