Red Roses to bloom at World Cup?

THE Women’s Rugby World Cup kicks off in Ireland three weeks today – and former skipper Catherine Spencer thinks England’s Red Roses are in with a shout of defending their title.

Catherine, who represented her country at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments – the latter as captain – predicts a strong showing from an England team aiming to follow up on their 2014 win in France.

Should her forecast for England’s chances come to pass, Catherine believes the final may be a familiar affair against the Black Ferns of New Zealand – a clash which has decided the outcome of three of the last four tournaments.

“I think England will definitely make the semis and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final,” Catherine told Wooden Spoon. “From there, I have a sneaking suspicion they will come up against New Zealand again.

“My heart says England will win, but New Zealand are a strong team. They missed out in the last World Cup and they won’t want it to happen again.

Women's Rugby World Cup - former Red Roses skipper Catherine Spencer

“Having said that, England are in a very strong position. They’ve had players on central contracts who have been training together and not having to work. They’ve also had a great tour in New Zealand, so we’ll see.

“England have a fantastic chance to defend the title but it will be interesting to watch. I’ll say no more than that!”

This year’s World Cup will be televised on ITV, with Catherine providing her expertise as a co-commentator. The tournament gets underway at 2pm on Wednesday, August 9, when the Red Roses begin their defence against Spain in Dublin.

Catherine recently gave her support to a fundraising event organised by Wooden Spoon London. Click here to find out more about the region’s work.