England prepare for Women’s World Cup with victory over France | women’s rugby league

0

The biggest tests are ahead for England, but as the preparations for the World Cup progressed, it was about as perfect as it gets.

France are not at the level of Australia and New Zealand, the two teams that will most threaten England’s hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil this autumn. But as the fifth-best team in the world and the second-best in the northern hemisphere behind England, they were certainly a test of the level that head coach Craig Richards would have wanted.

For long stretches the visitors have made this mid-season test difficult for hosts Warrington. However, the class that England have throughout their star-studded backbone proved too much for France at crucial moments.

This test was the start of what could be a game-changing six months for women’s football in England. There is no doubt that winning a World Cup on home soil could bring encouraging progress to a sport. How heartening it must have been for the England team to see that much of the crowd was made up of youngsters, many of them girls, perhaps impressed by the players who could become household names if success was materializing.

There is no shortage of players to marvel at in this England team. This includes Courtney Winfield-Hill, the Australian Leeds captain and former Big Bash cricketer who made his assured debut after qualifying for England via residency rule. She formed an effective team with her Rhinos team-mate Georgia Roche to help England secure a second victory in a week after their success against Wales last time out.

The French defense is unable to stop England’s Georgia Roche as she dives to score a try. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

France, however, made things difficult in the opening exchanges. They didn’t lack spirit and effort and when the opening try came for England it was against the run of play. It arrived courtesy of a perfect pass from Roche who freed Hollie Dodd, and the York forward rounded two defenders to land and give Tara Stanley a simple conversion that made it 6-0.

That lead was quickly extended when Winfield-Hill and Jodie Cunningham combined to release Caitlin Beevers, who fell in the corner.

Stanley was wide with the conversion but she was on target three minutes later when the exceptional Amy Hardcastle crossed, showing too much speed for the covering defense to claim her 20th Test try. The St Helens center is another England player who could become one of the most exciting to watch at the World Cup.

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for 'The Guardian'.
  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
  • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
  • Turn on sport notifications.
  • ","credit":"","pillar":2}">
    Quick guide

    How do I sign up for sports news alerts?

    Spectacle

    • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for ‘The Guardian’.
    • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re using the latest version.
    • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button in the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
    • Enable sports notifications.

    Thank you for your opinion.

    France were rewarded for their efforts with a half-time try as Cristina Song Puche slid off the dummy to rightfully put the visitors on the scoreboard.

    Any hint of a comeback after half-time was quickly reprimanded by England. They were ruthless for long stretches of the second half and Hardcastle’s 21st international try in 21 games, after Winfield-Hill and Roche combined to devastating effect, put them back in control.

    Roche then scored the try her performance deserved when she broke free and while France scored a second through Fanny Ramos, England finished in style. Roche claimed second place after a superb through ball from Cunningham before Fran Goldthorp completed the scoring in the final minute with his side’s seventh try.

    The warm-ups are almost over and the real business is looming. On this screen, England fans have plenty to be excited about.

    Share.

    Comments are closed.