Total Rugby: Red Roses ready to bloom

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 17 June 2014
 Total Rugby: Red Roses ready to bloom
Danielle Waterman hopes to cut the opposition - not flowers - down to size during this summer's World Cup

While obviously hoping the Red Roses bloom at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August, England star Danielle Waterman tells Total Rugby that her days as an amateur florist are well and truly over.

A ‘scissors’ move that went wrong on top of a number of other injuries saw the full back spend 14 months on the sidelines before making a try-scoring return against Italy at the end of this year’s RBS Women’s Six Nations.

During a break from England’s second pre-World Cup training camp, a slightly embarrassed Waterman, definitely no shrinking violet on the field of play, revealed why she played such a minor role in the team’s Triple Crown-winning campaign.

“I left my job in November so I could concentrate on my training and I had some fantastic flowers given to me (as a leaving present)," Waterman said.

"As any good florist would, I decided to cut the ends off the flowers with some big scissors. I knocked the scissors off the side and they stabbed into my foot and severed a tendon to my big toe. 

"I ended up going from literally just being back on the field to being in the operating theatre, which was kind of disappointing. But I’ve come back fitter and stronger from it and I’m not going to arrange flowers anymore.”

England rallied from their opening round loss to WRWC 2014 hosts France to finish second in the Six Nations, and Waterman feels preparations are going well ahead of the tournament in six weeks’ time.

“There haven’t been many players that have left the squad since 2010 so we’ve definitely grown as individuals as much as a team,” she said.

“The analysis team we have is fantastic and we’re analysing teams a lot better now. We can really get down to the nitty-gritty with not only the opposition but our own performances and learn from our mistakes and also the positive aspects of our play.”

England’s Women are enjoying more time together than ever before in the lead-up to WRWC 2014, and will be hoping it all pays off and they receive far more bouquets than brickbats, even taking Waterman's injury into account, when play gets underway at WRWC on 1 August.

The latest gathering has seen the squad’s rank-and-file put through gruelling, military-style drills.

“We’ve been on a military base and we’ve just finished the assault course which was pretty tough,” eexperienced back Emily Scarrett explains.

“It got us wet and muddy… just look at the state of me now! But it was really good fun and helps develop our communication, our team work and all of that.”

Maggie Alphonsi is known universally for her fearlessness on the pitch, but even the back row legend admits certain aspects of Royal Navy training are not to her liking.

“The hardest part was going through the cargo net and trying to keep your head and equipment out of the water. That was quite a challenge," she said. "Once you got through you had to sprint to the end which was a little bit knackering."

England will be hoping to make a big splash in France though and net their first world title in 20 years.

Alphonsi feels England will be ‘the best prepared we’ve ever been’ by the time their tournament begins against Samoa.

“This is our second World Cup camp, the first was a review and analysis of the Six Nations because that was obviously quite a big period for us,” she said. “But now we are starting to build up towards the World Cup and what we need to do to make the team better.

"In the last World Cup we didn’t have that much time together and actually now we have lots of time together, which is going to be quite key when it comes to learning how to play with each other under pressure. I think coming into the World Cup we’ll be the best prepared that we’ve ever been.”