Paris set for #WRWC2014 final

(IRB.COM) Saturday 16 August 2014
 Paris set for #WRWC2014 final
Canada captain Kelly Russell and her England counterpart Katy Mclean ahead of the final - Photo: I Picarel/IRB

When Katy Mclean and Kelly Russell met in Paris for the official launch of Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 just days before the tournament kicked off, it was probably fair to say that not many people thought they would be meeting again to pose with the trophy.

While England arrived in France with revenge on their mind after losing the final of the last World Cup in 2010, most would have picked New Zealand to be standing alongside the England captain on the roof of Musée du quai Branly in Paris to promote the final.

But Ireland shocked New Zealand in the pool stages and Canada caused a massive shock when they pipped hosts France, hence it was Mclean and Russell posing in front of the most iconic landmark in the French capital.

C'est la vie.

This tournament has captured the imagination of the public like a Women's Rugby World Cup has never done before. Crowds have been going out of their way to get tickets. Press boxes have been overflowing. TV viewership in France for Wednesday's semi-final was touching the three million mark at one point. Around the world, women's Rugby has made the front pages, and is trending on social media like never before.

Women's Rugby. Trending.

Fory Russell it's very satisfying. The Canadian number 8, who is also nominated for the IRB Women's Player of the Year 2014 accolade, said: “This is our goal – reaching the World Cup final. Our next goal is to win it.”

Straight and to the point. Not a woman of many words is Russell, just very direct. Not unlike her playing style.

"You want to perform as best as you can as a team, but it comes down to execution. From 1 to 15 the girls can do the running, the passing and the rucking and it all has to count.

"We know that England is gonna come out and charge in and we're going to do the same. It will be a really good match."

For England in recent times it has been a case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Mclean has had quite enough of that.

"People keep quoting how many times we've lost in a final but we've got to get over that, you've got to move on at some point," she said.

"For this bunch of people in this squad it's about focusing on what we can do - we can execute, we can play a very good game of Rugby in a big stadium with a lot of pressure on us."

But Canada are not in Paris to make up the numbers, a fact McLean is acutely aware of, particularly after the two sides drew 13-13 in their Pool A decider last weekend.

"We've got to shut them down, we can't allow them to play. They play such a good go-forward game and if they get on the front foot they are going to be phenomenally dangerous.

"Within the camp we've spoken about not being a passenger ... we've got to keep the scoreboard ticking over. We've got to turn up, we've got to perform and stay in the moment."

The action gets underway in Stade Jean Bouin on Sunday at 14:15 local time as New Zealand take on USA in the fifth place play-off. Beaten semi-finalists Ireland and France face each other in the third place play-off at 16:30 with the final kicking off at 18:45.


Follow all the action on Sunday by joining us on Twitter @irbwomens and on the IRB Women's Rugby page on Facebook.