Fu­ture un­cer­tain for van­quished fi­nal­ists

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT -

EMILY SCARRATT ad­mit­ted to feel­ing “a bit empty” af­ter Eng­land’s women saw their hopes of re­tain­ing the Rugby World Cup dashed by New Zealand.

The Black Ferns scored seven tries on their way to a pul­sat­ing vic­tory in Belfast, land­ing a fifth world ti­tle.

Some of the Eng­land squad are now set to lose their pro­fes­sional con­tracts, with the Rugby Foot­ball Union putting an em­pha­sis on sev­ens for the next two years, although sev­eral play­ers will be signed up by Twick­en­ham chiefs to par­tic­i­pate for Eng­land on the world sev­ens cir­cuit.

Fresh 15-a-side deals are then set to re­turn ahead of the 2021 World Cup, but Satur­day’s de­feat at the Kingspan Sta­dium was pos­si­bly a last Red Roses ap­pear­ance for some se­nior fig­ures.

“I have hope­fully got a few more years left in me yet, and we will see what they hold in terms of sev­ens, fif­teens, or what­ever it might be,” said 27-year-old Scarratt, who is among those likely to land a sev­ens deal and also be in­volved in next year’s Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia.

“But I would cer­tainly like to end my ca­reer play­ing fif­teens.

“You want to send peo­ple out on top.

“I don’t think any­one has an­nounced any­thing of­fi­cial yet, but whether it is now or in a year’s time, peo­ple will be step­ping away. Some of our old play­ers won’t go on to do four more years. It is gut­ting.

“I will go on a hol­i­day some­where, have a rest, eat a bit too much, drink a bit too much and put my feet up and see what hap­pens when I come back.”

Eng­land led 17-10 at half-time in their pur­suit of a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence, but the sec­ond 40 min­utes proved a to­tally dif­fer­ent story as New Zealand dom­i­nated.

Prop Toka Natua led the way, scor­ing a hat-trick of tries, and there were also touch­downs for full-back Sel­ica Wini­ata (two), lock Char­maine Smith and scrum-half Ken­dra Cocksedge, with Cocksedge adding three con­ver­sions. Wing Ly­dia Thomp­son scored two tries for Eng­land, in ad­di­tion to a sev­en­point penalty try, plus a late Izzy Noel-Smith touch­down, and full-back Scarratt booted two penal­ties and two con­ver­sions.

PIC­TURE: DONALL FARMER/PA

DE­JECTED: Eng­land’s women were de­feated by the Black Fearns of New Zealand in a pul­sat­ing fi­nal on Satur­day.

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