Britain shine with Scarratt playing the leading role
Whether they leave Rio as Olympic medallists or depart empty-handed, the British women’s rugby sevens team can take considerable heart from the manner of their crushing victory over Canada yesterday.
Victorious over the minnows of Brazil and Japan on the opening day of competition, a place in the quarter-finals was already assured with the match against unbeaten Canada set to determine the winners of their group.
Win and what appeared to be a relatively simple last-eight encounter with Fiji awaited; lose and it was a far trickier prospect in the form of France. Coach Simon Middleton need not have worried.
England, who have provided all but one player to this British squad, have failed to finish above Canada in the last three editions of the World Series, but it took just three minutes for Middleton’s side to suggest they are a different prospect to recent years in Rio.
Alice Richardson was the first woman to do the damage, bursting through the Canadian defence to touch down, before Amy Wilson-Hardy stole the show with a stunning solo try. Picking the ball up deep inside her own half, the personal trainer showed immense power to charge almost the entire length of the pitch and double the half-time lead to 10-0.
The second period continued in the same vein, captain Emily Scarratt claiming two tries as Britain roared to an unexpected 22-0 rout. “I’m really pleased with the performance,” said Scarratt. “Parts of our game yesterday weren’t exactly where we wanted it to be, but today we really came out firing.
“Canada are one of the world’s best teams and we managed to squeeze their skills and come out on top, which is pleasing.
For Jennifer Kish, the Canada captain, it was an embarrassing episode after her side had thrashed Japan and Brazil without conceding a point.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” she said. “We are better than that. We didn’t play. “We had Great Britain expose us.”
There was joy for the vociferous local contingent as Brazil sealed their first victory of the competition, beating Japan 26-10, although it was not enough to take them through to the quarter-finals.
Captain marvel: Emily Scarratt scored two tries as Britain romped to victory