It’s been a long old wait for the Women’s Rugby World Cup to come around having been postponed by a whole year due to the challenges covid presented. Now finally the teams are ready to take to the field in New Zealand.
When it was announced that the 2021 world cup was to be held in New Zealand it was widely thought that the home side would dominate the competition. Having won five out of the last six versions of the competition and being largely thought of as the greatest international side, it was difficult to look elsewhere.
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This thought process has all but been eliminated by England over the past few years. The Red Roses pledged to improve their strength in depth following their world cup final loss to the Black Ferns in 2017, and have been doing just that.
Since then they’ve been on a mission. They’ve won each of the last four Six Nations titles and are currently on a record 25-test win streak that dates back to July 2019. Within this streak comes a record victory over the Black Ferns back in November last year. England also boast two of the World Rugby Player of the Year awards – Zoe Aldcroft and Emily Scarratt.
With this said there is still going to be stiff competition from former champions New Zealand, and northern hemisphere rivals, France. The French side have been England’s toughest competitor over recent times and will no doubt be bringing their best rugby to the biggest stage.
Speaking to the BBC, head coach Simon Middleton was cautious about underestimating their rivals.
“When we take the field against France or New Zealand – if you have a bad day and they have a good day, you’re going to get beat,” he said.
“Momentum is an unbelievably powerful thing and if a team gets momentum, particularly in a big game, it’s very easy for players to get nervous.
“We won’t be taking anything for granted. If we make the final, which obviously is our goal, we’ll need to be at our very best to win it.”
According to the Telegraph Sport, the latest odds put England well in favour:
- England 8/15
- New Zealand 2/1
- France 12/1
- Canada 20/1
- USA 50/1
The tournament kicks off on October 8 in Auckland, with South Africa taking on France in the opening match.