Hunter: We haven’t won anything yet | England relishing final against NZ


England will play in a sixth-straight final after beating Canada 26-19; they will face defending champions New Zealand, who beat France by one point; the World Cup final is next Saturday at 6.30am UK time

Last Updated: 05/11/22 11:55am

Sarah Hunter says that her side will have no celebrations until they have secured win number 31 in the final next week Sarah Hunter says that her side will have no celebrations until they have secured win number 31 in the final next week

Sarah Hunter says that her side will have no celebrations until they have secured win number 31 in the final next week

England captain Sarah Hunter insists her side have “nothing to celebrate yet” after booking their place in the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand.

The Red Roses reached the final with a nail-biting 26-19 win over Canada at Auckland’s Eden Park in their toughest test of the tournament so far.

With Canada just three points adrift at half-time, it took an incredible length-of-the-field try by Abby Dow to extend the two-time champions’ lead before Emily Scarratt’s late penalty saw them through to their sixth-straight Rugby World Cup final.

Captain Hunter was proud of her side’s display but insists England will now be shifting their focus to getting the “result they want” next week.

“It was incredible,” England captain Sarah Hunter said after the game.

“We’ve come here to get into that game next week, but boy did Canada really test us.

“Right down to the wire it went, so proud of the way the team dug in at the end.

“Canada were relentless, they came and they came and they came and the girls just put their bodies on the line.

“We were desperate to get into that final next week.”

She added: “We’re a team that realises we haven’t won anything yet. We’ll save celebrating until if we get the result we want next week.

The attitude from the England captain has already filtered through to her team-mates, with Zoe Harrison already shifting her focus to making the “big statement” in the final.

“You can see what it meant to the girls afterwards. We’ve got our job done, we’ll enjoy it, but the big statement is next week. That’s where our focus has to move to,” said Harrison.

“It was a tough game out there. Recovery is absolutely key now. We need to be as fresh and as ready to go as possible.”

Zoe Harrison knows her side need to be "fresh and ready to go" for a huge final Zoe Harrison knows her side need to be "fresh and ready to go" for a huge final

Zoe Harrison knows her side need to be “fresh and ready to go” for a huge final

It was a valiant effort from Canada to push the world number one side all the way and captain Sophie de Goede believes her side have cemented themselves as a force for the future in women’s rugby union after nearly ending England’s 30-Test match-winning streak.

“There was no difference in talent out there today,” she said.

“Just imagine what we could do with more games and more resources. I’m really proud to be Canadian and there’s a bright future ahead of us.”

Middleton: We didn’t play well against Canada

England head coach Simon Middleton knows his side have a lot of improvements to make ahead of their hardest test against the home nation New Zealand next Saturday.

Indeed, Canada put England under the most pressure they have endured the whole tournament and it is something they will need to withstand again to get the Rugby World Cup win.

“We came here to get into the final, and we had to do it by hook or by crook today,” he said.

“Canada were absolutely brilliant, they just don’t make mistakes with the ball and put you under a lot of pressure.

“We have a bit of work to do this week in terms of putting our game back together because we didn’t play well today.”

“We had a great start and set the blueprint of keeping the ball, but then we missed a few opportunities, and invited them into the game.

“They are a good side with spirit and character, and tough players who keep going.

“I am proud of our players because they fought hard. We got into the final, and that’s all that matters.”

Daley-McLean: England have the experience to win final

Former England captain Katy Daley-McLean, who captained the team to victory over Canada in the 2014 World Cup final, said the team’s semi-final win was a “nerve-wracking” affair, but is backing the experience in the side to see them over the line in the final.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking,” she told Sky Sports. “At 65 minutes, I think we all thought Canada were going to run out of steam – and they certainly didn’t. If anything, they got better.

“At times, England’s defence were absolutely phenomenal, defending 15-20 phases on their line. Yet, at other times, Canada were able to break them really easily – especially in the wide channels. I think that will be something England will go away and look at.”

Daley-McLean added: “You’ve got a lot of experience in that team, the likes of Sarah Hunter, Emily Scarratt, Marlie Packer. They’ve all been there and won a World Cup.

“They’ve got the balance right. Eighty per cent of the time, they’re focussed on themselves and what they need to do, and with 20 per cent looking at the opposition. It’s just about England playing the way they’ve been playing and making sure they don’t get dragged into the fact it’s the final.

“Just focus on your rugby and let your performance do the talking.”

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