I’ve been really slacking on posting about the European Trophy tournament overseas lately…but Ali at Scrumqueens has been all over it! Check out Scrumqueens.com for all the updates. Check out the scores from the Tournament here.
England A winger Micheala Staniford (pictured in action this week) is expecting nothing but the sternest of tests against Spain in tomorrow’s European Trophy final.
Staniford, with 40 caps, is one of the more experienced players in the squad but is making the most of her chances to shine in a talented backline with the aim of making the full England squad for this summer’s Nations Cup.
She has been involved in European finals in the past against the Spanish and knows what to expect.
“We have seen a bit of them so far in this tournament and we know they are a very well drilled side. Spain in Spain is always a tough fixture and I think they will have a big crowd out behind them which is something you must manage. I imagine the team we play in the final will be a different Spanish side to that which travelled over to us in March and it’s going to be a battle. They have some excellent players and will want to win at home. One of the key traits of Spanish teams has always been that they never give up so it will be a tough match.”
After a stuttering 5-0 win over Italy, England have gone on to more impressive victories over Netherlands and Russia and Staniford is pleased with how things have progressed over the week.
“The important thing in the opening game of any tournament is to get a win and we did that. Italy had a very strong pack out and we were put under a lot of pressure and found them very tough but we did enough.”
Following the opening game, Staniford was then called on to captain the England side with regular squad captain Roz Crowley rested as the squad rotation for this competition is significant given the amount of games crammed into a small window.
“It’s always enjoyable to captain the team and I guess it reminds you that you are honoured to be here as England’s representatives. The fact that you are England A goes out the window really and it’s a pressure international environment like any other test game. The game against the Netherlands was fun for at least the first half when we scored all our points. We came at them firing and ran in a lot of tries but in the second half they were so much better and really worked us out but it was a good win”
With England’s senior coach Gary Street in Spain this week to watch the tournament, there is more than a title at stake tomorrow as players aim to impress enough to make his Nations Cup squad.
“Yeah it has to be everyone’s aim here to be involved in that competition but if not there are also 7s tournaments that England are involved with this summer. There are a lot of young players in this competition and the likes of Kay Wilson, Nic hoole and Izzy Noel Smith have come in and taken it in their stride which is what you want.”
England A team to play Spain:
15 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
14 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park)
12 Ceri Large (Worcester)
11 Fran Matthews (Richmond)
10 Kim Oliver (Bristol)
9 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield)
1 Claire Purdy(Wasps)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3 Rosemary Crowley (Lichfield) Captain
4 Tamara Taylor(Darlington Mowden Park)
5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6 MarliePacker (Bristol)
7 Jane Leonard (Wasps)
8 SarahHunter (Lichfield)
16 Ollie Poore(Wasps)
17 Monica Lewinska (Bristol)
19 Isabelle Noel Smith (Bristol)
20 Sarah McKenna (Old Albanians)
21 Amber Reed (Bristol)
22 Kay Wilson (Richmond)
23 Charlotte Male (Bristol)
24 Natasha Jones(Lichfield)
25 Stacey Maguire (Lichfield)
26 Sophie Nicholas (Lichfield)
For all the scores from the European Championship, go here.