Amber ready to defend World Cup

Published on: 28 Jul 2017

ENGLAND women's rugby player Amber Reed said the squad are on a "high" as they look to defend their World Cup title this summer.

It follows a successful three-Test tour in New Zealand, where the Red Roses overcame Australia, Canada and the Black Ferns and means they head into August's competition ranked as the number one team in the world.

Reed, who lives in Downend, has been named in the World Cup squad of 28 players and says it feels very different to when she was selected in 2014, when England lifted the trophy for the first time in 20 years. 

"It's fantastic," said Reed, who has 39 England caps.

"I was in the squad three years ago but my place within the squad is now very different. Back in 2014, I was a young member but now I'm one of the senior players and I'm relishing the opportunity to have that challenge within the squad, as well as going into the biggest tournament that we play in.

"There's a lot of experience within the squad mixed with a lot of new faces so everyone's preparation is very different. You have the girls who are going into their fourth World Cup but you've also got 13 players who are heading into their first. There's lots of excitement and we've definitely built as a group."

The recent win in the International Women's Rugby Series, which took place in New Zealand, saw the Red Roses beat Canada, Australia and hosts the Black Ferns.

Reed, 26, whose mum lives in Downend and dad in Emersons Green, said: "New Zealand is an amazing place to go - the way they value rugby is phenomenal. It's their national sport and they throw everything into their men's and women's games. To go over and be able to play three consecutive games against World Cup contenders is great preparation for us. We learned a lot out there and know what we have to do going into the World Cup."

Centre Reed said the players won't be taking anything for granted and are aware there's work to do.

"We know we have a lot of work to do before we leave on August 5. There's lots of fine tuning and focusing on the little details but I'm feeling very excited. It's come round very quickly but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

"We're on a high at the moment but we're not complacent at all and know we have to be on top of our game if we want to come back with the trophy again."

Head coach Simon Middleton's squad shares a total of 1,207 caps.

He said: “We are confident we have an incredibly strong squad, made up of hugely experienced players who have featured in previous Women’s Rugby World Cups and other major tournaments such as the Olympics.

"At the same time, we have younger players who have been involved in a Grand Slam-winning side and a successful three-Test series against some of the best teams in the world earlier this month.

"Selection is probably one of the toughest jobs you do as a coach. This is not just a squad of the 28 players travelling to Ireland, but represents all those who have contributed so much this season to make this the team it is.

"Our focus has always been on going to Ireland to win the Women’s Rugby World Cup. To do that we are going to have to give more than in any competition we’ve played over the past year."

The Women's Rugby World Cup kicks off in Dublin on August 9 with knock out rounds taking place in Belfast.

The four most successful teams from the pool stages will qualify for the semi-finals which take place at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, on Tuesday August 22, with both games live on ITV4. The final will be held on Saturday August 26 at 7.45pm, again at Kingspan Stadium, and will be broadcast live on ITV4.

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