Bri­tain shine with Scar­ratt play­ing the leading role

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - Ben Rumsby

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

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