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Mclean ready to lead England

England women's captain Katy Mclean hopes to lead her squad to Rugby World Cup glory in France next month at the start of a momentous 18 months for English rugby.

Success for England's women in Paris could help inspire England's men to glory at the 2015 tournament in England.

"It's going to be a huge 18 months," Mclean told Press Association Sport.

"Let's hope we get the right result in August and again in 2015."

New Zealand beat England in the final in London four years ago - just as they did in 2002 and 2006 - with Mclean and her team eager to go one place better.

But the competition has improved in the intervening years - rugby sevens' Olympic place a contributing factor - and New Zealand, Six Nations champions France, Canada, United States, Ireland, Australia and England all start the tournament with realistic designs on the trophy.

England's first game is against Samoa on August 1 in Marcoussis, their second against Spain on August 5 before the duel with Canada on August 9.

The semi-finals take place on August 13, with the final at the Jean Bouin Stadium in Paris on August 17.

"For us 2010 took a long time to get over, because we were so close, but you do move on as well," Mclean added.

"The game has moved on so quickly. Our biggest test now is we've got to focus on our group. Samoa and Spain are going to be very different games.

"Our final game against Canada is going to be the main game for us. We could be in danger of looking too far ahead to the final and we don't want to slip up on that hurdle."

England have five players taking part in their third World Cup.

Flanker Margaret Alphonsi, centre Rachael Burford, lock Tamara Taylor, full-back Danielle Waterman and prop Rochelle Clark were all involved in the 2006 and 2010 tournaments and seven more played in 2010, while nine make their World Cup debuts.

Clark is the most-capped player in the group after being involved in 91 international matches.

Head coach Gary Street said: "We desperately want to win this. We've got a lot of girls who have got some silver medals they want to turn into gold. It will definitely be the last chance for some of them.

"It is a big motivating factor. After the 2010 final, the first get together back in January 2011, most of the World Cup squad had come back and I asked the question why?

"The answer was: we thought we should've done better in the final.

"That's what we've been concentrating on for the last four years."

With selection made - and the disappointed departed - the 26-player squad will reconvene for final preparations on July 14.

Street is hoping one player will be a lucky omen if the squad do meet New Zealand - Alex Matthews.

"She's been out injured, so we've used the sevens series to bring her back," Street added.

"She's come into camp the last two or three weeks and been outstanding.

"Her first six caps were all against NZ and she won five and drew one. Hopefully she'll be a good talisman if we come up against NZ."

England Women's Rugby World Cup squad;

Backs: Claire Allan (Richmond), Rachael Burford (Thurrock), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), Ceri Large (Worcester), La Toya Mason (Wasps), Katy Mclean (captain, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Amber Reed (Bristol), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Lydia Thompson (Worcester), Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Kay Wilson (Bristol).

Forwards: Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Emma Croker (Richmond), Rebecca Essex (Richmond), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Sarah Hunter (vice-captain, Lichfield), Laura Keates (Worcester), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Marlie Packer (Wasps), Claire Purdy (Wasps), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks).


From Belfast Telegraph