Hunter wants England to 'go extra mile' at women's World Cup after Six Nations win

·3-min read
England's players celebrate their Grand Slam victory over France (AFP/Philippe LOPEZ) (Philippe LOPEZ)

Injured England captain Sarah Hunter challenged her side to "go the extra mile" at this year's Rugby World Cup after they beat France 24-12 on Saturday to win the women's Six Nations Grand Slam.

No. 8 Hunter missed the victory in Bayonne after suffering a rib injury during last weekend's win over Ireland.

The Red Roses, ranked number one in the world, will go into the tournament, which runs from October 8-November 12 in New Zealand, as favourites and will again meet France in the group stages.

"I am so proud to be captain of this special squad. They were outstanding today," 36-year-old Hunter told the BBC.

"Our journey hasn't finished yet.

"There's something special happening but we can't rest on our laurels and still need to go that extra mile for the World Cup," she added.

Both sides were playing for the Grand Slam after four wins from four games in the tournament, but despite going behind to an early French try England soon exerted their dominance at Stade Jean Dauger.

In front of a 10,500 crowd, Les Bleues' Romane Menager barrelled over to score the opening try that gave the Red Roses an early scare.

But from a driving maul England prop Sarah Bern touched down and Emily Scarratt squeezed over the kick from a tight angle to bring the scores level.

England, World Cup winners in 1994 and 2014, began to take control of the game when a huge drive infield allowed Abbie Ward to put England ahead before Scarratt again converted from a difficult position to make it 14-7.

As the visitors grew in confidence, they rolled towards the French line and front-rower Bern moved sharply to score without facing much resistance from the home side.

England pushed further ahead when former World Rugby player of the year Scarratt capped a superb performance with her fourth kick of the day.

The second French try of the day from Annaelle Deshayes, who bundled over from close range, was not enough to prevent England chalking up the Grand Slam, a fourth successive Six Nations title and an 11th straight win over France.

Scarratt told the BBC: "It means so much every time we get to have a Grand Slam. Some players weren't in the squad for this match and this is for every person who has played during this Six Nations.

"Our forwards were phenomenal and got through so much work. There are things to look at but now we want to celebrate it because it's been a hard campaign."

France scrum-half Laure Sansus said her squads' minds have already turned toward the World Cup.

"We're disappointed. During the tournament we got the results but the performances weren't what we wanted," she told France Televisons.

"It's better that it has happened now than lying until the World Cup and thinking we're ready when we're not," she added.

gj/iwd/pb

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting