Greenwood: England can overcome ‘one of most intimidating grounds on Earth’


England will face host nation New Zealand in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final next Saturday (6.30am UK time); “New Zealand men or women rarely lose at Eden Park but I am fully confident this England team will get their hands back on the trophy,” says Will Greenwood

Last Updated: 06/11/22 10:28am

Will Greenwood is 'fully confident' England will win next Saturday's Rugby World Cup final in Auckland

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Will Greenwood is ‘fully confident’ England will win next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final in Auckland

Will Greenwood is ‘fully confident’ England will win next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final in Auckland

Will Greenwood is backing England Women to overcome playing host nation New Zealand at “one of the most intimidating grounds on planet Earth” and win the Rugby World Cup.

Sarah Hunter’s side will play hosts New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday (6.30am UK time) after scraping past Canada 26-19 in the semi-finals to earn their 30th straight victory.

New Zealand’s progression to the final was also far from routine, with the Black Ferns squeezing past France 25-24 after their opponents squandered a chance of victory by missing a last-minute penalty.

New Zealand started the World Cup at Eden Park, opening with an impressive comeback victory over Australia

England and New Zealand’s wins set up a repeat of the 2017 World Cup final in Belfast which the Black Ferns won 41-32.

Former England centre Greenwood expects a different result this time around, though, and for Hunter’s team to take the title for a third time after previous successes in 1994 and 2014.

Simon Middleton and Sarah Hunter give their reaction after England booked their place in the Women's Rugby World Cup final

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Simon Middleton and Sarah Hunter give their reaction after England booked their place in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final

Simon Middleton and Sarah Hunter give their reaction after England booked their place in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final

‘Inaccuracies crept in against Canada’

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Greenwood said: “England have won 30 games on the trot, are the best team in the world, and have beaten New Zealand convincingly the last couple of times they have played them.

“But as with all World Cups, you get nervy. They got nervous against Canada and didn’t play their usual game. Inaccuracies crept in.

“They managed to squeak home but no one remembers the semi-final if you go on and win the final.

“It will now be a full house at Eden Park which is one of the most intimidating grounds on planet Earth. New Zealand men or women rarely lose at Eden Park.

“But I am fully confident Emily Scarratt, Abby Dow, Marlie Packer and all this wonderful England team that have been carving [sides] up will continue – not necessarily carve up New Zealand but get their hands back on the trophy.”

England captain Hunter: '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' England captain Hunter: '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'

England captain Hunter: ‘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’

Hunter: We haven’t won anything yet

Talking after Saturday’s narrow win over Canada, Hunter hailed her side for “putting their bodies on the line” against their “relentless” opponents.

England’s record cap holder said: “It was incredible. We came here to get into that game next week, but, boy, did Canada really test us, right down to the wire. I am 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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